Columbia (0-1) at Southside (1-0)
Last week: Southside 22, Hokes Bluff 15; Lee-Huntsville 36, Columbia 12
Last meeting: Have never met
By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent
Established in 2006, Columbia High has yet to have a winning football season. Yet the Eagles’ overall talent and speed can be hard to contain.
Due to overcrowding, students from Butler and J.O. Johnson high schools populate Columbia.
Adding the new school to the city system put a burden on trying to schedule football games, as six schools use two stadiums. Southside originally was scheduled to play this week’s game in Huntsville, but a snafu flared and now the game will be in Southside, both this season and next.
“It worked out well for us,” Panthers coach Marty Smith said. “Because of their mess-up, we get two home games.”
Expect a lot of different things when the Eagles have the ball, as they go to multiple sets to try and get their athletes in the open.
“With us having a Thursday game last week, I was lucky enough to get to go see them in person,” Smith said. “If their backs can find a crease, they can very easily make a big play.”
Making holes for the backs is a huge offensive line that averages around 6-5 and 290 pounds.
Counter that with a Southside defensive line that has one player in that size category – Tyler Carr weighs in at 295. The other linemen all reside in the 220-pound range.
“We’re hoping that quickness and technique will offset that size advantage,” Smith said.
Southside’s practices this week were focused on penalties and blown assignments.
“We’re working on ourselves,” Smith said. “We’ve got to correct some mistakes – not just on offense and defense, but on special teams as well.”
The Panthers were whistled too many times against Hokes Bluff, according to Smith, so discipline has been a major factor in practice this week.
“This is a good game for that, because they’ll see soon enough that if they blow an assignment against these guys, they’ll be chasing them down the field.”