Spruell anchors Southside’s win
Published 9:08 am Saturday, November 8, 2008
By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
YEATESVILLE — Dash Spruell took the handoff, jab-stepped to his left, lowered his shoulder and darted full speed ahead.
There was a good chance that this would be the last carry of his high school career, and no one was going to keep him from crossing the goal line. No one was going to keep him from putting the finishing touches on a miraculous comeback. No one was going to keep him from halting two years of misery.
Spruell’s two-point conversion run in overtime, following Kevin Sparks’ six-yard touchdown pass to Willie Ruffin, capped a miraculous second half comeback in which Southside rallied from 20 points down in the final 17 minutes to stun cross-county rival Northside, 34-33 in the 20th annual Anchor Bowl.
The victory snapped Southside’s 21-game losing streak and sparked a raucous celebration.
After Spruell broke off a 72-yard touchdown on the first play from scrimmage, Northside completely dominated the opening half.
The Panthers rushed for 307 yard in the first 24 minutes, as Travis Midgette and DeMarques Martin bowled over the Seahawks’ defense. Midgette ran for 158 yards and touchdown runs of eight and 62 yards in the first half, while Martin added 78 yards, including scoring jaunts of 20 and six yards to help Northside race out to a 26-6 halftime lead.
But at the half, Southside coach David Hines challenged his team to come out and play the best 24 minutes of football they had played all season.
It was a message his team took to heart.
Late in the third quarter, the Seahawks were able to cut into the Panthers’ lead as Spruell broke loose once again. The Southside senior took a pitch at his own 10-yard line and raced down the left sideline untouched for a 90-yard touchdown run to make it 26-12 with 4:43 left in the third.
A few minutes later, Spruell displayed his big-play potential once again. In the waning seconds of the third quarter, Spruell darted around the right corner of the line and sprinted down the right sideline 56 yards for his third touchdown run of the game to make it 26-19.
But he still wasn’t finished.
With the Seahawks facing a fourth-and-six from the Northside 31-yard line with less than five minutes left in the contest, Spruell broke a tackled behind the line-of-scrimmage and darted 28 yards down to the 3-yard line. Three plays later, Spruell plunged in from eight yards out for the game-tying touchdown with 3:40 left in regulation.
After both teams traded turnovers in the final minute, the contest went into overtime.
On the opening play of the extra session, Northside’s D.J. Satterthwaite burst into the end zone from 10 yards out to give the Panthers a 33-26 lead.
But the Seahawks responded on their possession as Sparks hooked up with Ruffin in the back corner of the end zone to make it 33-32. And being on the road, coach Hines immediately made the call to go for two. A move that was rewarded when Spruell bolted into the end zone.
On the other side of the field, there were no tears of joy, only tears of sadness.
Spruell finished with an Anchor Bowl record 271 yards and four touchdowns on just 11 carries to lead Southside.
Northside was paced by Midgette, who finished with 163 yards, while Martin added 112 yards on the ground.
Both the Seahawks (1-10) and Panthers (2-9) will have to wait until later today to learn their playoff fate.
18 First Downs 21
37-343 Rushes-Yards 54-385
34 Passing Yards 12
4-15-2 Pass-Comp-Int 1-2-0
3-31.3 Punting 6-33.2
5-3 Fumbles-Lost 3-1
5-30 Penalties 8-80
Southside 6 0 13 7 8 — 34
Northside 7 19 0 0 7 — 33
S — Dash Spruell 72 run (Kick failed), 11:42, 1st
N— DeMarques Martin 20 run (Cota kick), 4:14, 1st.
N — Travis Midgette 8 run (Cota kick), 9:05, 2nd
N — Midgette 62 run (Kick failed), 6:36, 2nd
N — Martin 6 run (Run failed), 3:31, 2nd
S — Spruell 90 run (Pass failed), 4:43, 3rd
S — Spruell 56 run (Ward kick), :13, 3rd
S — Spruell 8 run (Ward kick), 3:40, 4th
N — D.J. Satterthwaite 10 run (Cota kick), OT
S — Willie Ruffin 10 pass from Kevin Sparks (Spruell run), OT