Southside/Arab has bearing on playoff picture

 Southside (4-1, 2-1) at Arab (4-1, 2-1)
Series record: Southside 9, Arab 8, three ties
Last meeting: 2011 Arab 35, Southside 20
Last week: Southside 41, Springville 7; Arab 14, Guntersville 0


    By Gene Stanley/Messenger Sports Correspondent

    There haven’t been many years when you could still honestly say both Arab and Southside were still in contention for a playoff berth heading into the second half of the season.
    You can do so in 2012.
    With identical records, the Crimson Panthers and Arabian Knights will both factor into Class 5A, Region 7’s postseason, either as a participant or as a spoiler for another team, as Fort Payne is the only team that is still undefeated in region play.
    Columbia, Brewer and Scottsboro are almost definitely (but not 100 percent as of yet) out of the race, leaving Southside, Etowah, Boaz and Arab duking it out for the final three slots.
    Therefore, the winner of tonight’s matchup will be making a huge step toward being one of the four teams who will play in Week 11.
    “It’s a rare situation, for sure,” Southside coach Marty Smith said. “Coach (Mitchell) Johnston was at Chelsea for awhile when I was at John Carroll, and he’s doing a lot of the same things at Arab as he did at Chelsea.
    “Besides the obvious of playing for the playoff spots, this game will be a lot of fun because we know and respect each other.”
    Smith looks for a great game because, “(Arab) runs multiple sets, trying to flank you and take advantage of any weak spots you have. And on defense, they attack the ball well and play sideline to sideline as well as anyone.”
    The Panthers got a little help last week, playing Springville, which Smith said has very similar schemes.
    Against Springville, Dantley Coker rushed for 174 yards on 17 carries.
    Blake Devine ran five times for 93 yards. Devine also caught three passes for 77 yards.
    Patrick Lister completed 5-of-9 passes for 134 yards and three touchdowns.
    Hunter Armstrong led the Panthers in tackles with 12, followed by Ryan Clark with eight, Daulton Coker and Chase Nobles with seven each and Tyler Carr with six.

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