Southside (3-0, 2-0) at Fort Payne (3-0, 2-0)
Series record: Fort Payne 13, Southside 8
Last meeting: 2011 Fort Payne 52, Southside 3
Last week: Southside 27, Scottsboro 7; Fort Payne 51, Arab 21
By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent
It’s been well documented that Southside is 3-0 for the first time since 1996.
Do you know the last time the Panthers opened a season with four straight wins?
In 1994, Southside won its first seven games. The final record was 8-2, yet the Panthers didn’t make the playoffs because that was in the days of area play. Southside’s two losses were to area foes Etowah and Gadsden.
Standing squarely in the way of another 4-0 start for Southside is Class 5A, No. 7 Fort Payne, however.
“They’re very solid in what they do,” Panthers coach Marty Smith said. “They are very aggressive on both offense and defense and you have to stay very disciplined to make any headway. They haven’t changed their philosophy on either side of the ball, and it’s very evident the kids have bought into it.”
This will be Southside’s first road game of the year after Columbia had to change its plans because of a stadium conflict.
“Anytime you go on the road, it changes your routine from what you would do in a home game,” Smith said. “We’ve been very fortunate to have three home games and now, we’ll find out what kind of a road team we are.”
Fort Payne has also utilized special teams very well this year, returning kicks for touchdowns in two of its three games. Last week’s win moved the Panthers into a three-way tie with Fort Payne and Boaz for first place in the region.
Against Scottsboro last week, Dantley Coker led the Panthers in rushing with144 yards on 23 carries. Hunter Armstrong ran seven times for 106 yards, while Holt Keeling finished with 101 yards on five attempts.