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Happy Homecoming for South
J. C. Tilton

In games between evenly matched teams, the team making the fewest mistakes generally wins. This was the case last week when South played Miami East. It was a close battle, but South's 3 turnovers vs. none for the Vikings made the difference. Last Friday when South hosted Bradford it was the Railroaders who coughed the ball up 3 times vs. once for the Panthers. South made use of those extra opportunities. Scott Leedy kicked a field goal for the first score of the game.
Later in the second half, Wes Bassler would catch a Josh Flynn pass for a touchdown, making it two score deficit for Bradford. Wes Bassler would end the night with 7 catches for 99 yards and the TD. Spencer Ervin had 54 yards on 14 carries.

Bradford was able to generate some yardage from the run, but South was able to keep them out of the redzone. Lineman Brandon Wiseman had a couple of tackles for loss, and linebacker JT Stone did the good job of stopping the run. Late in the game when Bradford had to resort to the pass, the Panther secondary stepped up and was able to smother their passing attack. Receivers were well covered and finally Corey Bassler snagged an errant throw to give the Panthers the ball late in the fourth quarter where they ran out the clock.

The Bradford defense did a good job of stuffing the run. In each of their drives South had to mix the run and pass to get into scoring position. South did let a third scoring opportunity slip away in the final seconds of the second quarter. With the ball on the four yard line South tried to run a play as time ran out but fell short. Coach Cottingim explained what happened. There was a flag on the previous down. We expected the penalty to be against them and it would be half the distance to the goal line - on the two yard line. However, the penalty was waved off, but the team ran to line since they were going to restart the clock and ran the play the messenger brought in. The play gained the two yards, but that was 2 yards short of the goal. However, Coach Cottingim later reflected that playing with a 3 point lead instead of a 10 point lead kept the team hungry in the third quarter. “If they had relaxed at halftime, it could have let Bradford back into the game. As it was we played like our backs were against the wall.”

With the media hype, there was a lot of emotion last week. This week before the game I did not feel as much emotion on the sideline before the game. Instead I found that the team had replaced raw emotion a more determined workman like attitude. We have a job to do - so let's go out and do it. But as the Panthers remained in the lead, the crowd got into the game and the intensity level did go up.

Coach Cottingim was understandably elated with the win. “I am glad they went out there and got this win on homecoming night. The kids are now believing in themselves, they will be more confident from here on out. The coaches were a little worried in the second half - they were celebrating after the touchdown, but we had to remind them that we had another quarter to play. They were forced to pass then, and that played into our hands. Our secondary was laying back waiting on them.”

Next Coach Cottingim was asked about next Fridays game against National Trail. “This will be their homecoming and also they are hungry for a win. So they will be up for the game. They are young at the skill positions, but well coached. We will have our hands full at Trail next week.”

After the game fans swarmed onto the field and the celebration began. As they left the stadium the sound of car horns could be heard as they pulled onto the street. The crowd hung around outside the school for a long time - I don't think anyone wanted to go home. The losing streak has ended, can a new streak - a winning streak begin?

email: Chris Tilton
email: Chris Tilton


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