Rebels run over Southside|Seahawks come back strong in second half of opener

Published 1:34 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

Staff Writer

CHOCOWINITY — The Southside football team found some positives in its 28-12 opening season loss to North Duplin at home on Friday night.
The Seahawks, riding a one-game winning streak after beating Northside in the final game of last season, went down 21-0 in the first half, but came back strong in the second to score two touchdowns.
“We beat them in the second half 12-7,” said Southside head coach David Hines. “You know, you don’t like that, but it’s better than coming back out and having them score 21 more (points).”
The North Duplin Rebels, who play out of the Class 1-A Carolina Conference, rode the shoulders of shifty sophomore running back Devin Oliver to go up big in the first two quarters.
Following a failed fourth down conversion by the Seahawks on their own 40 yard line early in the first quarter, Rebels quarterback Clifford Warren threw a strike on the second play from scrimmage to a North Duplin wide receiver, who caught the ball in stride at the 20 and took it all the way to the 3 yard line.
Oliver snuck into the right corner of the end zone on second down for the Rebels’ first score.
The Seahawks would have several chances to score on some North Duplin turnovers before the Rebels would strike again.
After an ineffective possession by Southside and an ensuing punt, the Rebels drove the ball down to the Seahawks’ 14 yard line.
North Duplin’s took a bad snap from center and fumbled the ball. Southside recovered the ball in the middle of a pile-on.
Southside strong junior running back Marcus O’Neal muscled his way for a couple of first downs, before sophomore quarterback Terrill Moore ran the ball on a keeper for another. But the Seahawks stalled at the 40 and had to punt again. At the end of the first, the Rebels led 7-0.
To start the second, Southside caught another break when the Rebels decided to go for it on fourth and long from their own 22. North Duplin failed to convert and the Seahawks took over. But Southside’s offense sputtered again, as Moore missed a completion on fourth and 7.
Rebels standout running back Oliver came right back with a 53 yard run to the 27 yard line, but wiped away his long run with a fumble at the 5 yard line recovered by the Seahawks. Southside drove all the way back down the field thanks to a sweet 18 yard connection between Moore and freshman receiver Bryan Dixon.
On fourth and 7 from the 25 yard line, Hines elected to try a field goal, but the kick was blocked and returned by the Rebels to the 42 yard line. North Duplin’s Oliver would cap off the possession with a touchdown run down the far side of the field.
With minutes to go in the half, the Rebels scored again on another Oliver run for a 21-0 lead.
The Seahawks stopped the Rebels on their first possession of the second half and put together their most sustained drive of the game. After North Duplin punted to their own 46, Moore connected with senior star wide receiver Willie Ruffin for a 30 yard pass. Southside ran the ball several times before Moore took the ball himself for a 7 yard run on third and 5. The Seahawks kept pounding the ball, and on fourth and 3 from the 8 yard line, running back Julian “Downtown” Brown rumbled to the 2 yard line. Moore would score on another keeper.
“We held the ball for all but three plays in the third quarter,” said Hines. “That shows what we can do.”
The Rebels would add another score on what Hines called a “ticky tack” play before Southside would get its final score on an impressive 95 yard kickoff return for a touchdown by the Seahawks’ shortest, and maybe fastest, player, Anthony Goff.
“Even with the loss, they came away with something positive out of what we did,” said Hines. “I’m proud of them. And that’s one of the main things I wanted to get across to them after the game.”