Photo: Southside High’s Aulden Battles (right) catches a pass in front of Boaz’s Carson Chamblee during the Panthers’ 24-14 loss last Friday (Oct. 18). (Gary Wells)
By Ricky Smith/For Sand Mountain Reporter
Boaz secured a Class 5A state playoff berth with a 24-14 win over Southside at Barney Hood Stadium last Friday (Oct. 18).
The Pirates improved to 4-5 overall and 3-2 in Region 6. Southside dropped to 1-7, 1-4 and was eliminated from postseason play.
The Pirates broke out on the second play of the second quarter.
Following a Southside punt, Boaz put together a nine-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by Easton Hardin’s 46-yard touchdown pass to Eli Jacobs. Gerardo Baeza added the point after for a 7-0 lead.
On Southside’s next possession with Panthers facing second-and-10 from their 40-yard line, the snap went over the head of quarterback Michael Rich. Zion Dunn outraced Rich to the ball and recovered for Boaz at the SHS 23.
Boaz moved the ball to the 7-yard line, but the drive stalled and Baeza kicked a 24-yard field goal to make it 10-0 with 5:59 left in the first half.
Southside took advantage of a Boaz turnover late in the half when the Pirates fumble the ball and the Panthers recovered at the Pirate 22.
Two plays later, Rich threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Aulden Battles with 1:01 left in the first half. Nolan Johnson’s PAT made it 10-7.
Boaz took the second half kickoff and drove 64 yards to the end zone, using six plays to increase its lead.
A 43-yard touchdown pass from Hardin to Alex Hutchins capped the drive. Baeza added the point after for a 17-7 lead with 9:15 left in the third.
One play after a Southside punt, Jacobs scored his second touchdown of the game on a 54-yard run with 5:33 left in the third quarter. Baeza’s PAT increased the lead to 24-7.
Southside took the ensuing kickoff and drove 62 yards in nine plays when the Rich-to-Battles connection hooked up for a 20-yard touchdown pass with 59 seconds left in the third quarter. Johnson added to point after to cut the lead to 24-14.
Hardin completed 14 of 17 passes for 231 yards and two touchdowns.
Southside closes out region play this Friday (Oct. 25) with a visit to Crossville.