Southside flies past Riverside, 32-13, on homecoming

Published 12:12 am Saturday, October 14, 2017

CHOCOWINITY — Southside knew it would be in for a battle when it hosted Riverside for homecoming on Friday. The two had been non-conference rivals in years past, but this encounter had more on the line with the Knights being new to the 1-A Coastal Plains Conference.

WATCH: Coach Jeff Carrow breaks down the homecoming win over Riverside

The Seahawks got a handful of momentum-shifting plays in the first half as they took down the Knights, 32-13. They needed just two plays to score the first touchdown and never looked back.

PHOTOS: Southside homecoming vs. Riverside

With the two prior bouts between the two being decided by a combined 10 points, winning by two possessions should provide Southside with plenty of confidence heading into its final two games of the season.

“We finally put a complete game together. Offensively, we were able to stay in drives. Even when we had to punt the ball away, we had slow, steady drives,” coach Jeff Carrow said. Southside had the ball for nearly five more minutes.

“Defense stepped up, played real well and executed the game plan. All in all, a good team effort.”

Riverside ran just four plays before having to punt on its opening drive. The Seahawks delivered a quick blow when Demetrius Ebron ripped off a 70-yard run that positioned Brandon Sullivan to punch in the first touchdown from a yard out.

Southside’s defense forced a quick Riverside three-and-out on the following series. The Knights had a botched snap on the punt attempt. Quinton Vick jumped on it at the Riverside 12.

The Knights put Southside in a third-and-10 situation in the red zone. Jamison Bennett ran for an 8-yard gain, and Hayden Mayo used his power to move the chains on fourth-and-2. That set the table for Sullivan for his second score of the game.

“This is the first week in about a month that we’ve had healthy guys,” Carrow said. Sullivan, one of many running backs to go down this year, suffered a concussion earlier in the season.

“Brandon coming back, he had been banged up a little bit. … It’s more about his presence on the field. He’s a senior leader and a captain on the team.”

Southside’s defense faced its first true test late in the first quarter. Knight quarterback Brandon Beach connected with East Carolina receiver commit Jadakis Bonds, but Ebron drilled him at the goal line to force a fumble.

The Seahawks not only continued to stymie Riverside’s offense, but also got game-changing plays from their defense and special teams. Vick busted into the backfield for a tackle. The Knights, facing third-and-15, couldn’t get anything when Beach dumped off a pass.

Riverside had to punt, but again couldn’t get a good snap. This one went sailing over the Knight punter. Grant Jensen scooped it up and took it to the end zone, pushing Southside’s lead to 18-0.

“Special teams, we’ve played pretty decent all year long. I’m just proud of our guys and the way they executed,” Carrow said.”

Riverside got on the board just before halftime. The Knights recovered a fumble at Southside’s 45 and deliberately marched down the field. Beach lobbed a fade pass to Ah’shaan Belcher, who barely got a foot down in bounds in the right corner of the end zone.

Southside got the second-half kickoff. Trajan Rhome, who turned the ball over twice in the first half, hit his stride as he picked up first downs on back-to-back runs. He capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown. The drive ate up the first 6:02 of the third quarter and pushed Southside’s lead to 24-6.

Bonds put his stamp on the game shortly after. He helped the Knights answer back quickly with a 38-yard scamper into the end zone on a sweep.

Riverside was still backed into a corner with time against it. The visitors had a chance to make it a one-possession game before the end of the third. Bonds was stuffed on a wildcat attempt for a turnover on downs at his own 28.

So, instead, it was Jonquil Haywood capitalizing on the field position with a 9-yard touchdown.

It proved to be the nail in the coffin as Southside’s defense kept the Riverside athletes at bay. The Knights had 265 yards of offense, but couldn’t do much against Southside’s red-zone game plan.

The Seahawks, meanwhile, ran for 336 yards. Rhome led the way with 125 yards on the ground. Ebron and Haywood combined for another 148 yards rushing.

Southside now sets its sights on next week’s senior-night meeting with Beaufort County rival Northside.