ALEXANDRIA — Explosive plays propelled No. 9-ranked Alexandria to a 41-20 Class 5A, Region 6 win over Southside at Lou Scales Stadium on Friday night.
That makes the Valley Cubs’ game at No. 10 Etowah on Friday for the region championship, provided the winner doesn’t slip up the following week. Southside (1-6, 1-3) can clinch the No. 4 seed at home against Boaz along with a win against Crossville in two weeks.
Alexandria used big plays and held a 28-13 lead at halftime.
The Valley Cubs (6-0, 4-0) scored first-half touchdowns on a 3-yard run by Nate McCallum (set up by a 77-yard Ronnie Royal run), 73-yard run by Antonio Ross, 80-yard pass from McCallum to Dustin Warren and a 36-yard rush by Royal.
Southside’s Carnel Davis scored on a 2-yard run to make the score 14-6 with 7:59 left in the first quarter (Nolan Johnson missed the extra point). With 21 seconds left until halftime, Michael Rich Jr. found Aulden Battles for a 20-yard touchdown to cut Alexandria’s lead to 15 points.
After holding Alexandria to a three-and-out to start the third quarter, Southside drove the ball deep into Valley Cub territory, but a 15-yard penalty and a sack put the Panthers well behind the sticks. Then Johnson’s 47-yard field goal attempt was well short.
Alexandria later extended its lead to 35-13 after a 4-yard run by Dekari Garrett. The drive was set up after Seth Slaton intercepted Rich.
Each team traded touchdowns in the final quarter. Southside shrunk Alexandria’s lead to 35-20 on Rich’s 15-yard pass to Battles with 9:15 left in the game.
Royal capped off the scoring with a 35-yard touchdown with 5:42 left. The extra point failed.
What to know
—Alexandria holds a 6-2-1 series advantage over Southside.
—The top three spots are set in 5A, Region 6. Etowah and Alexandria play next week for the region title. Sardis is at No. 3 with Southside, Boaz and Crossville still fighting for the final spot.
—Southside’s 20 points Friday night is the most Alexandria has allowed in a game this season.
—Alexandria had the top scoring defense in 5A heading into the Southside game and eighth overall in all classifications.
—Southside coach Ron Daugherty on the loss: “It means we have a home game to have a chance to still be in the playoffs. This team has been resilient. There’s a lot to build on from tonight. There really is.”
—Alexandria will play at Etowah on Friday.