Article for White River Now by Chris Vines
Over 5,000 people were on hand for the inaugural Battle of the Bridge between Southside and Batesville in varsity football at Stewart Field in Southside on Friday night.
The crowd was treated to a great night of football and festivities for the communities. Before the game started, $2,000 in scholarships was presented to four members of each school. It was also senior night at Southside.
The much-anticipated matchup, the first-ever varsity football match between the two schools, kicked off at 7 p.m. with everyone standing. The Pioneers kept them standing through the first drive of the game, going 55 yards in seven plays, capped by a Gabe Witt 15-yard touchdown run to jump out to a 7-0 lead.
The Pioneers’ defense kept the crowd on their feet with a 3-and-out forcing the Southerners to punt. After a 55-yard punt from Blayne Warden, the Pioneers took over at the 10-yard line and six plays later were three yards from going up 14-0. Then the Pioneers fumbled, giving the Southerners the ball at the seven-yard line. The Southerners were forced to punt, and Blayne Warden booted another 55-yarder, that was fumbled by the Pioneers, giving Southside the ball at the Pioneer 31-yard line. Four plays later a 36-yard touchdown pass from Savion- Hall to Cannon Chafin and a two-point conversion gave the Southerners an 8-7 lead with 9:48 to play before half.
Batesville would score again on a 15-yard run by Witt, to take a 14-8 lead with 4:18 to play in the half. The Pioneers force the Southerners to punt on the next possession and take over at the 20-yard line after a 65-yarder from Warden. Pierce Duncan would get an interception for the Southerners with 3:28 to go, and three plays later. Seth Case would score on a two-yard run to tie the game at 14-14.
The Pioneers looked to punt with under 40 seconds left in the half, when Isaac Wallis broke thru on the snap and blocked the punt, while Blayne Warden scooped and scored, and the Southerners took a 21-14 lead into the half.
Southside started the second half with the ball and failed on a fourth down conversion. The ensuing Batesville drive went 11 plays, took over seven minutes, and was capped by a Holden Hutchins four-yard run to tie the game at 21. Warden hit a 68-yard punt, and the Pioneers would take over at their own 15-yard line. Two plays later Colby Harris forced a fumble, and Caden Rowlett recovered for the Southerners. Eight seconds later, the Southerners took a 28-21 lead off a 40-yard touchdown pass — again, from Hall to Chafin. The Southerners would score once more as Isaac Wallis intercepted a pass and three plays later, Luis Calhoun scored on a two-yard run to make the final score 35-21.
The Southerners improve to 5-4 on the season and kept their playoff hopes alive, needing a win over Paragould this week, and a Batesville loss to Valley View.
Follow the Southside Southerners through radio coverage from White River Now’s Your FM 99.5 on-air and through the White River Now website or app. Chris Vines, The Voice of the Southerners, does play-by-play with Tyson Franks on color. The Grass Roots Kick-Off Show with Coach Kenny Simpson begins at 6:30 p.m.
Article by Chris Vines
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