Southside falls short as Beulah rushes to victory, Bobcats now 5-0
By James Jones
SELMA — Southside was in position to grab its first win of the season.
Running back Chris Person Jr. rushed for 252 yards as Beulah took a wild 42-34 victory on Friday night at Panther Stadium.
Beulah (5-0, 3-0 Region 3-3A) remains unbeaten, while Southside (0-5, 0-3) continues to search for its first victory of 2018.
“We came so close, we were right there,” Southside coach Daniel Flowers said. “I asked my kids this week to play with heart and they did tonight. That’s why they’re hurting right now. They gave it their all.”
The loss offset three stellar performances from Panthers quarterback Malik Johnson, running back Markendrick Williams and wide receiver Derrick Griffin.
Johnson threw touchdown passes of 70 yards and 15 yards to Griffin, and an 80-yard touchdown pass to Williams. He finished with 242 yards passing two touchdowns. He also had 83 yards rushing, including a 50-yard touchdown run.
Williams had over 230 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns. He scored on a 70-yard kickoff return in the first quarter, which Beulah led 21-14. Griffin had four receptions for 127 yards, two touchdowns and a two-point conversion catch.
In the end, Beulah’s running game was the difference. The Bobcats had almost 400 yards rushing. Person was the workhorse, carrying 46 times.
“It was all a team effort,” Person said. “The offensive line did a great job blocking. With injuries, I had to step up.”
“We call Chris Person the silent assassin,” Bobcats coach Cody Flournoy said. “He doesn’t talk a whole lot. We were able to run the football.”
Beulah kept Southside at bay in the first half, leading 28-14 at halftime. Blumer Blanton’s 6-yard touchdown run and Quindarius Page’s 25-yard touchdown run both came in the first quarter. Donquavious Moreland’s 6-yard touchdown run and Lonzie Portis’s 4-yard touchdown run came in the second quarter.
The Panthers scored the only third-quarter touchdown on Griffin’s 15-yard touchdown reception, getting within 28-20.
Portis’ 33-yard-touchdown run put the Bobcats up 35-20 with 10:39 left in regulation.
The Panthers scored two straight touchdowns in a five-minute stretch to get within 35-34 with 5:48 left. Johnson’s 50-yard touchdown run, his 80-yard touchdown pass to Williams and a two-point conversion brought Southside within a point.
Southside forced a Beulah turnover inside the red zone and had a chance to pull off the upset with 3:39 left. But Williams fumbled and Grant Webb recovered at the Panthers’ 5-yard-line.
With 3:35 left, Porter’s 5-yard touchdown run closed the game’s scoring.
On the Panthers’ next possession, defensive Ty Williams’ interception sealed the win for Beulah.
“One play did not lose us the game,” Flowers said. “Beulah was the better team tonight. We have to keep fighting.”