Region title at stake for Devils, Panthers

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Etowah (6-1, 4-1) at Southside (7-0, 5-0)
Last week’s results: Etowah 41, Arab 11; Southside 31, Boaz 6
2012 result: Southside 27, Etowah 26
Series record: Etowah leads 26-8-1

By Gene Stanley/Sports Correspondent

It’s been a long time since a Southside-Etowah matchup was relevant this late in the season.

Both teams are trying to win the Class 5A, Region 7 championship, and the winner of this game gets a leg up. The Panthers currently hold down the top spot in the region, while the Blue Devils are in third place behind Scottsboro.

“I’m glad that Etowah is playing a game that matters,” Blue Devils coach Drew Noles said. “It’s great that people are talking about Etowah football this late in the year.”

Ditto for Southside.         

“Our main focus is on keeping on doing the little things that we did to get to 7-0,” Panthers coach Ron Daugherty said. “I’m not positive but I think that if we win this game, it seals the region championship for us.”

Indeed, it will be the crowning moment should Southside prevail.

Both coaches are very high on the other team’s skill players.

“(Southside) has great running backs and receivers,” Noles said. “They’re good at spreading the ball around so you can’t stop just one guy. And when they throw, it’s usually for a big gain.”

Said Daugherty, “Any one of (Etowah’s) skill guys is liable to go the distance any time he touches the ball. There’s no way to defend one area against them because of their multiple threats.”

For Etowah last week, Paul Ruiz rushed for 140 yards on 19 carries, while Stacey Williams carried six times for 110 yards.

Andy Noles completed 6-of-10 passes for 88 yards. Kordell Rudolph completed 5-of -10 passes for 46 yards before leaving the game at halftime.

For Southside last week, Dantely Coker rushed for 179 yards on 22 carries and a touchdown, while Blake Devine ran for 107 on 12 carries and scored three touchdowns.

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