Panthers come up short at Guntersville

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Photo: Southside’s Koal Garrett tackles Guntersville’s Cameron Logan as Braydon Bowers (6) looks on during the Panthers’ 14-0 loss in high school football on Friday, Aug. 25. (Photo courtesy of Andrew Colley)

By Shannon J. Allen/Sand Mtn. Reporter

A late-game goal-line stand by Guntersville spoiled Southside’s hopes for a season-opening victory in high school football on Friday, Aug. 25, as the host Wildcats held on for a 14-10 victory.
Trailing by four points with five minutes remaining in the game, the Panthers marched down the field behind running back Mason Teague – who had gains of five, six and 16 yards on the drive -0 and quarterback Gauge NeSmith.
NeSmith tossed a 16-yard pass to Jordan Bryan, and he had a seven-yarder to Cayden McMichael. A 4-yard completion made it first-and-goal at the 10 with 1:06 on the clock.
Teague broke a tackle in the backfield and gained nine yards to the Guntersville 1-yard line on first-and-goal. The Panthers then drew consecutive five-yard penalties, pushing them back to the 11 on second-and-goal.
NeSmith threw incomplete, and he followed with a keeper that gained six yards to the Wildcat 5.
Southside came up with no gain on fourth-and-goal, however, forcing a turnover on downs with 20.2 seconds remaining.
The Panthers took a 10-7 lead on Caleb Ogle’s 43-yard field goal with 7:32 remaining in the fourth quarter, but on the ensuing kickoff, Guntersville’s Jack Lenoir broke loose for a 74-yard return to Southside’s 15-yard line.
Nelson Delva then carried the ball on five consecutive plays, the final time for a 3-yard touchdown with 5:29 left in the game. Diego Lugo’s extra point made it 14-10.
Southside drove 60 yards on its final possession of the second quarter to take a 7-0 lead. The touchdown came on NeSmith’s three-yard pass to Bryan with 6.6 seconds to go.
The Wildcats put together their first scoring drive of the season after receiving the second-half kickoff. Guntersville relied on the running of Delva, who replaced the injured Julyon Jordan in the starting lineup. Eli Morrison capped the drive with a three-yard TD pass to Carter Britt with 4:16 left in the third quarter. Lugo’s point-after tied it 7-7.
Teague rushed for 202 yards on 29 carries, while NeSmith gained 68 yards on 11 attempts.
NeSmith was 14 for 22 in passing for 156 yards. McMichael had six receptions for 71 yards, while Bryan caught four passes for 61 yards.
Tytan Rich led the way defensively with 10 tackles including three for a loss. Koal Garrett and Braydon Bowers each had eight stops, followed by Cooper Horton, Blake Phillips and Cameron Flowers with five each.
Southside hosts Hokes Bluff on Thursday, Aug. 31.

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