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Saturday, August 31, 2013

South Surges Past Dixie

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South Surges Past Dixie

In the first half, the ball bounced Dixie's way as they took advantage of opportunities and gained an early lead.  But South was resilient and fought their way back to tie the ball game by the half.  In the second quarter they were down by two scores and could have folded up. But the team maintained their energy level, did not get down, and held Dixie scoreless for the rest of the game while scoring 31 unanswered points.

Dixie scored early in their first series on a 70 yard pass play.  Dixie has a new quarterback this year, southpaw Ethan Arnett; he connected with Logan Watts for the score.  South answered with a touchdown drive of their own, capped by a Zane Cottingim dive from about the one yard line. So we were back even again.

Then South gave Dixie two gifts - which to Dixie's credit they capitalized on.  Dixie punted to South and the ball hit the ground in front of the South return man.  He wheeled to get out of the way, but apparently not fast enough.  The ball touched the returner according to the referee and an alert Dixie player - Isaiah Prichard scooped up the live ball and ran it in for the score.  There was a Dixie offsides on the ensuing kickoff and South opted to redo the kick.  This time the ball squirted loose and Dixie recovered.  A few plays later and Arnett connected with Watts again to put Dixie up by two touchdowns 21-7.

First year coach Tyler Cates did a good job of keeping the team focussed.  After giving up two touchdowns in two minutes it would have been easy for the team to get down and fold up the rest of night.  But the team rallied at this point and the game was all South the remaining 2 and half quarters. A resolved South scored two more times in the second quarter - a quarterback keeper by Wes Cole (set up in part by a nice run by Zane Cottingim) and a 30 yard pass to Darren Brown.  This tied the game at 21 all at the half.

With a good sized roster, South has some latitude in the schemes they can put together for different situations.  They have a jumbo package for short yardage on offense, where they bring in some beefy boys on the line and put 3 backs in the back field.  They they can put in coverage defensive players for passing situations and so forth.  With the players going in and out, they are also getting rest on the sidelines.  And so I thought South had more gas in the tank in the second half. They seemed to grind down Dixie in the steamy heat of late August.

The defense bent some in the second half, but they mostly held Dixie to 3 plays and punt. The offense went to a clock chewing ground game.  Cole capped off two more drives with quarterback sneaks for scores and Zane Cottingim peeled off a 20 yard touchdown run. Cottingim also set up the first score of the half with a 40 yard run + a face mask. Jordan Burns deserves mention, he made a critical 4th down catch to set up South's second touchdown of the second half - which put them up by 2 scores. Cody Meyer who had missed a field goal earlier, redeemed himself and hit a 22 yarder to finish the scoring for South. All in all a good victory for South and a first win for coach Cates who got the water cooler treatment at the end of the game.

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