Defense does it for SouthsidePublished 11:39pm Friday, November 4, 2011
CHOCOWINITY — A stellar defensive effort combined with an efficient rushing attack paved the way for Southside to slide past South Creek 34-0 in the first round of the NCHSAA 1-A playoffs.
The No. 4 Seahawks (7-5) ran for 240 yards and four touchdowns, while the fifth-seeded Cougars (4-8) were held 85 rushing yards on 41 attempts.
The win means Southside will advance to the second round of the playoffs where they will face Co-Four Rivers Conference champions Manteo on the road Thursday.
On a cold, blustery night that featured a steady mist of rain in the first half, Southside did not attempt a single pass, while South Creek completed only five of its 15 attempts for 24 yards, zero TDs and one interception, which was returned 32 yards by Terrill Moore with 3:43 left in the game.
The Seahawks’ victory avenged a tough Week 9 loss to the Cougars in which Southside fumbled seven times and lost five of them.
“I’m tickled to death (to be able to play another week), they beat us the last time,” Southside coach DeWayne Kellum said. “Our defense looked good, we really got after it. We played the pass good, (South Creek quarterback Reginald Parker) is a player and can put the ball where he wants.”
One place Parker was not able to get the ball was the end zone, as the Cougars had trouble advancing the ball on a wet and muddy field against the James Jones-led Seahawks’ defense.
“They did a great job all night of stopping the run. It is what it is, they just outplayed us,” South Creek coach Jeremy Jones said. “The last time we played them they kind of sat back some times and tried to read us. This time they forced our hand a lot more and made us make our decisions quicker.”
The Seahawks got off to a fast start as Johnnie Pender scored the first of his three touchdowns at the 9:51 mark when he ripped off a 22-yarder down the right sideline to take a 6-0 lead.
Pender struck again later in the quarter when he capped off another scoring drive by running to the end zone from 15 yards out to take a 14-0 lead.
The Cougars’ best scoring chance came right before halftime as they were able to get inside the red zone with under a minute left to in the second quarter, but a stellar effort from Southside defense kept South Creek at bay.
In the third quarter, Rokeem Miller extended the Seahawks’ lead to 20-0 with a 7-yard late in the third.
In the fourth, Pender netted the hat trick as he scored his third rushing TD of the game, a 7-yarder, that pushed the Seahawks’ lead to 27-0.
Though the loss was a tough one, Jones praised his team’s effort this year. The Cougars went winless in 2010, and managed to win four games and earn a trip to the postseason.
“People expected maybe one or two wins this year,” Jones said. “We thought we could get more, our seniors thought we could get more … We’re starting a program here and the seniors were a big part of it.”
South Creek 0 0 0 0 — 0
Southside 14 0 6 14 — 34
SS — Johnnie Pender 22 run (two points failed), 9:51, 1st.
SS — Pender 15 run (Pender two points), :22, 1st.
SS — Rokeem Miller 7 run (two points failed), 2:47, 3rd.
SS — Pender 7 run (Kyle White kick), 4:43, 4th.
SS — Terrill Moore 32 interception (White kick), 3:43 4th.