SMS ends season with victory over Panthers
The Southside Middle School football team concluded their 2016 campaign with a 30-8 trouncing of the Eclectic Middle School. A balanced offensive attack and steady defense proved too much for the visitors in maroon and white.
Southside struck early as Tae Collins took the opening kickoff and weaved his way across the field for an 86-yard touchdown return to put the Purple and Gold on top 6-0. The two-point conversion failed. Using a punishing run game, the Panthers drove their way down the field on their first drive and were able to punch it in to tie the game and six. The visitors added the two-point conversion to take the lead 8-6 midway through the first quarter.
Behind the legs of Jalyn Daniels, the Tigers used the run from the spread formation to quickly move the ball into scoring position late in the first quarter. Daniels sliced in to the end zone from two yards out and found his way in for the two-point conversion as well to put the Tigers in the lead for good at 14-8.
The Panthers second drive was snuffed out quickly as the Tiger defense produced sacks by Sergio Diego and Zavion Carr, forcing the visitors to punt the ball away midway through the second quarter. Beginning inside their own 20, the Tigers went to the air behind quarterback Gannon Reyes. Reyes connected on passes of 19, 25 and 20 yards to Collins, Daniels, and Jacob Dantro. The drive culminated with a Collins run of 1 yard. Reyes found Will Brooks on a tight end delay for the two-point conversion to push the lead to 22-8 to close out the half.
The Panthers opened the second half with a positive drive but the SMS defense turned them over on downs to put the Purple and Gold back on offense midway through the third quarter. After runs of 9 and 14 by Carr, Reyes hit Daniels again for 25 yards to put the ball into Panther territory. Collins then took a jet sweep handoff from Reyes and scampered around the right side for 36 yards to pay dirt. Dantro powered his way in for the two-point conversion and the Tiger led 30-8 late in the third.
The teams traded possessions in the fourth quarter with many of the young Tigers getting quality experience for the future. The Tigers closed the season at 7-1, providing promise for the future of Tallassee Tiger football.
For the game, Collins rushed three times for 58 yards, Daniels with seven carries for 57 yards, and Carr with three carries for 37 yards. Daniels had two catches for 45 yards, Collins pulled down two catches for 22 yards, and Dantro had one catch for 25 yards. Reyes was 5-for 7-through the air for 92 yards. Defensively, the Tigers were led by Carr (8 tackles, 1 sack), Mason Bell (5 tackles), Brooks (4 tackles). Jaquavious Lackey also recovered an onside kick for the Tigers.