A fast start to the year after a rough 2014 had fans and alumni admiring South Side football’s turnaround and wondering how good the 2015 Hawks could be.
There’s plenty of time for more success at South Side, but the honeymoon is over.
Dyersburg coach Bart Stowe felt his team was getting better in recent losses to tough teams, and his Trojans proved it Friday with a 51-12 thumping of host South Side.
The Hawks (5-1, 1-1 Region 7-3A) were hurt by a fumble and three interceptions.
“I think if we’d kept onto the ball and had some drives going and scored a few times, our defense would have played better,” coach Brian Moore said. “We’ve got so many players going both ways, if they’re not doing good on offense that just translates right back to defense.”
It was the first loss for Moore as South Side head coach, but he was glad to see his players upset as opposed to ambivalent as in previous years.
“Years past, like I just told them, they’d turn it down and start cussing each other and doing all this other crazy street stuff, and they definitely didn’t do that,” he said. “I was really proud of that because that’ll really determine how we go in the next few weeks.”
While the Hawks work to build up their program, the visiting Trojans (3-3, 1-1) leaned on the success they’ve had in the past for confidence. This was their third straight game against an unbeaten team.
“It’s just a belief, a belief in the program,” Stowe said. “For four years we have done really well. For four years we’ve been rolling and everything. We’re a young ballclub this year, but you know it’s staying the course, it’s believing in your coaches, believing in your players.”
South Side scored the game’s first touchdown, a 17-yard Cade Willingham pass to Cordea Kinnie midway through the second quarter.
Dyersburg answered with 44 straight points. The Trojans got a Bryce Gilmore 42-yard field goal, Keashun Moses 60-yard pick-six and Riley Jensen 1-yard touchdown keeper before halftime for a 17-6 lead.
Trojan backs Shahid Nelson, Deashun Fields, Cam’Ron Hopkins and Jarvis Bowen dominated the second half.
Willingham hit Tedrick Hughes, who made a fine catch, in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to stop the running clock, but Bowen’s 15-yard touchdown late gave Dyersburg one more highlight.
South Side’s Noah Cox recovered two fumbles.
“It’s hard to find a few positive things, but I’ve got to hit on those so they don’t go back to the way they used to be,” Moore said. “At the end of the day they’re 14- to 17-year-old kids, so you’ve got to point them in the [right] direction.”
The Hawks have another tough region game at home next week against South Gibson (5-0, 2-0). Dyersburg travels to Milan.
Craig Thomas, 425-9634