North Side players and coaches repeated a couple of phrases after playing South Side Friday night. Things like, “It wasn't our best game” or “We got a scare” were repeatedly said.
But the most important was “Win and move on,” which is exactly what North Side did in defeating South Side 26-22 to advance and play Snider in the Sectional 3 final next week.
The Redskins committed plenty of penalties to hurt themselves in the game. On one scoring drive by the Archers, North Side committed 30 yards worth of penalties. The Redskins also had a touchdown called back on a holding penalty.
“Seemed like the second half we started every drive at first-and-10, first-and-20. We dodged a bullet,” said North Side head coach Ryan Hall.
Penalties weren't the only thing that hurt North Side. Quarterback C.J. Jackson fumbled twice and threw an interception.
“Me personally, I played the worst game since I've been in high school, but I kept fighting, and my team stayed behind me and said don't give up and backed me the whole way,” Jackson said.
These issues gave South Side a chance to pull off the upset after losing to North Side 42-13 less than a month ago. South Side took the lead on a 1-yard touchdown run from Domonique Gleason with 5:03 left in the third quarter. It added a 2-point conversion to make it 22-19 and then shut down North Side's offense until late in the game.
Jackson eventually calmed down, he said, and found some holes. North Side took over the ball on its own 18-yard line with 6:54 remaining in the game, and Jackson took off on runs of 18 and 31 yards. Eventually Anthony Linnear took the ball in from the 7-yard line to get North Side its winning score with 3:11 left.
“Get forward, get the yards. We got to score or our season is over, and being a senior (I) just know the situation,” Linnear said about his mindset on the last drive.
South Side still had a chance on its final drive. Aaron Thomas ran the kickoff back to the 50-yard line, and tquarterback Trae Maston found him again for a 29-yard pass.
The Archers eventually got to the Redskins 16-yard line, but the passing game that took them there also cost them. North Side's Demond Gaston intercepted a pass in front of the goal line, and one first-down run by Linnear sealed the game.
“We knew we were going to have to take a shot down the field, and Aaron (Thomas) came up with the huge play and then Trae (Maston) tried to get him again in the end zone and it didn't work out right,” said South Side head coach Eddie Fields. “We wanted to try and force it down the field in the air, and we did OK until right there at the end.”
For North Side, the turnover got it a rematch with Snider after losing to the Panthers 17-6 on Sept. 21. As Hall told his team after the game, this week was its scare and now it has a championship week to prepare.
“South Side did a heck of a job. They changed their defense up, but we didn't execute, and that's scary because we're going to be playing in one of the biggest games around next Friday night,” Hall said. “We'll be ready for it, been getting ready for it.”