Southern rebounds big for win
SELMA – A one-point lead after the first quarter and trailing by one with five minutes until halftime — Meadowview couldn’t have asked for more.
But Southern Academy (8-1) all of a sudden looked like the No. 4 team in AISA on Friday night. The Cougars scored 29 unanswered points and got a couple of standup series from their defense in a 42-13 win.
“I knew coming in they were an excellent offensive team. Their scheme is very good,” Southern coach Shaun Bonds said. “We didn’t stop the run like wanted to. We were looking for a better job out of our defensive front. We just made the plays when we needed to.”
Although Davis Jones never found the end zone, he had big runs to set the Trojans up in scoring position in the second half.
Down 28-13, Meadowview (4-5) got as close as the Southern 19-yard line and needed a fourth-down conversion with 11:41 left in the third quarter.
Southern defensive back John Michael Cochran knocked down a pass in the end zone intended for Ryan Aultman.
Again, with 7:39 left in the fourth quarter, Meadowview faced a fourth and goal situation from the 6. Hamilton threw the ball into the waiting arms of Coleman McClendon in the back of the end zone, who tried to run the ball out and got as far as the 3-yard line.
The Cougars scored touchdowns off both situations, the first on a 33-yard run by Heath Clary that gave Southern a 35-13 lead. After McClendon’s pick, the Cougars drove the length of the field and capped a five-minute drive on a 3-yard touchdown run by Christopher Collums.
The magic was far beyond gone for the Trojans by then.
Hamilton found receiver Daniel Blackmon for critical — and often long — conversions whenever they were needed in the first half.
But Blackmon, who finished the game with 124 receiving yards, found little room in the final two quarters.
“They figured out what we were doing and just stopped us,” Blackmon said. “There wasn’t anything we could do.”
Using a strong running game — especially handy when the fog rolled in after the second quarter and limited visibility downfield — Southern barreled its way through the Trojan defense.
Southern got on the board first with a 2-yard touchdown run by William Washburn. A missed extra point left the lead at 6-0.
Meadowview answered after J.R. Lowe caught a 7-yard touchdown to take the lead with 8:42 left in the first.
Charlie Baltzell scored on an 8-yard run with 8:27 to play in the half to put Southern ahead 13-7 after a 2-point conversion.
On the next possession, Meadowview crept back up on the Cougars when Hamilton found Lowe on a 12-yard fade pass in the far corner of the end zone. A blocked extra point kept the Trojans from tying.
Southern converted a fourth down with 5:35 left, and a minute later Washburn went across the goal line from 2 yards out.
Christian Montz intercepted a Hamilton pass on the ensuing drive, and Sam Kelly closed scoring for the first half with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Landolt.
The Southern defense gave Meadowview looks at the end zone in the second half, but that’s all.
“Those two stands at the goal line were big,” Bonds said. “We really could have been in a situation if they had scored. Always, our goal is to win the second half, and that’s what we did tonight.”