FORT WAYNE – North Side will get its rematch, but it wasn’t easy making it happen.
The Redskins set up another meeting next week against Snider by rallying for a 26-22 win Friday at South Side in a Class 5A sectional semifinal game.
North Side (9-2) will play host to the No. 4 Panthers (11-0) next Friday in the sectional championship with a chance to avenge a regular-season loss.
Snider beat North Side 17-6 on Sept. 21.
We know what’s in front of us next Friday, and we will be ready, North Side coach Ryan Hall said. We have been getting ready for this since the last time we faced them. Let’s hope the weather is nice, and we can put on a show for the fans in Fort Wayne.
We dodged a bullet. South Side did a heck of a job, and they had a good game plan. They changed their defense up, and we didn’t execute. And that’s scary because we will be playing one of the biggest games around next Friday night.
Hurt by penalties, turnovers and mental mistakes, North Side overcame all that and got the game-winner from Anthony Linnear with 3:11 remaining on a 7-yard scoring run.
The Redskins’ defense then got an interception by Demond Gaston at the goal line to snuff out a late Archers threat.
I played the worst game I have played since I have been in high school, said North Side quarterback C.J. Jackson, who had two fumbles. I kept fighting and my team stayed behind me, and I can’t give up when they back me the whole way.
We didn’t want to overlook South Side, and they pushed us to the limit. It showed that we are mentally tough, but now we have to get back on the field and get more tough physically.
The Archers took a 22-19 lead in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Domonique Gleason, but North Side put together its best offensive series of the game, led by Jackson’s running and capped off by Linnear’s game-winning touchdown.
Linnear ran for 205 yards and two touchdowns, but the Redskins were slowed by two fumbles and 90 yards in penalties.
It’s good to be in the sectional championship, but we have to finish and play whole games, Linnear said. We have to practice hard, and we have no time to slack.
South Side (4-7) came into the game looking like a different team after two straight wins over Gary Wallace (79-6) and Huntington North (14-6).
It was certainly a different look from the Archers offensively and defensively after the Redskins won the Totem Pole 42-13 on Oct. 5.
Our kids came out and fought, but we left a few out there, South Side coach Eddie Fields said.
It’s a good football team we played, and we talked all week about getting into the fourth quarter and giving ourselves a chance to win it. Our guys did a good job of slowing them down, but we just did it one time too little.