Young Seahawks show resilience, score late to pick up first win of season

Published 11:27 pm Friday, August 24, 2018

CHOCOWINITY — It looked like Southside was headed for its second-straight loss after giving up a touchdown with five minutes remaining, but the resilient Seahawks immediately made their way down the field to score and held on defensively in the final minutes to defeat Dixon, 27-20, tonight.

“That’s a tough pill to swallow (to lose the lead late in the game), especially as young and inexperienced we are in spots,” Southside head coach Jeff Carrow said. “But to be able to take the ball, come back and keep marching and be confident with it and not hurt ourselves on that drive was the key thing. We left a little bit of time on the clock, but I’ll take it. I’ll take the score.”

Bryce Napier’s six-yard touchdown run and subsequent two-point conversion both silenced the home crowd and gave the Dixon Bulldogs (0-2) a 20-19 lead with only five minutes left in the game. Despite trailing so late in the game, the Seahawks (1-1) didn’t panic.

Starting at its own 28-yard line, Southside needed only three plays to get into the end zone. The drive began with senior quarterback Will Warren scrambling to his left to avoid the rush and finding Hunter Tyler across the middle. Tyler then carried several defenders across midfield to the Dixon 49-yardline. Chris Brinkley, who received more playing time with Jonquil Haywood out due to injury, followed with a 25-yard run. Aeron Wright then took a handoff 22 yards to the end zone, sending the Southside sideline and home crowd into a frenzy. Hayden Mayo ran in the two-point conversion to give the Seahawks a seven-point cushion.

With four minutes still left on the clock, the Bulldogs still had a chance to tie the game. A 39-yard pass play from Corey Motes to Jermaine Lee put Dixon on Southside’s 27-yardline and it looked like the Bulldogs would find a way to score. But three straight stops on run plays up the middle brought up fourth down for the Bulldogs. Motes tried to find Tony Bryant across the middle, but a strong Southside pass rush didn’t allow Motes to set his feet and his pass bounced at Bryant’s feet, giving the Seahawks the ball on a turnover-on-downs with a minute left. Southside kneeled the ball to run out the clock and seal the victory.

The Seahawks didn’t start the game off well, falling behind 12-0. It looked like they were about to be blown out when Dixon’s Joseph Lawrence ran 71 yards into the end zone on third down to give the Bulldogs an 18-point lead, but a holding call brought the play back.

The Seahawks defense held the next play on third-and-long, leading to a Dixon punt. Southside began its drive around midfield with a 30-yard completion to Sion Kinlaw that energized the crowd. Brinkley followed by running 24 yards to the end zone, putting the Seahawks on the board with seven minutes left in the opening half.

Southside gained momentum from that point and eventually took the lead three minutes into the third quarter.

“We had a rough start, a little slow start, especially defensively there. Then we had to turn around, make some adjustments offensively. We started to move the ball out of both formations. I was happy with that,” Carrow said. “To see the young bucks, defensively, as the momentum started coming, they started learning how to play at a varsity aggression and varsity speed. Slowly but surely, one step at a time, we’re moving forward.”

Southside will go for win No. 2 of the season when it hosts Perquimans Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.