Football: Grizzlies corral Mavericks, earn playoff berth

Posted: November 4, 2017 at 5:57 a.m.

Special to NWA Democrat-Gazette/MARK STALLINGS Fort Smith Northside receiver Dearon Robinson hauls in a touchdown reception Friday against Fort Smith Southside in Fort Smith.

FORT SMITH -- All season long, Fort Smith Northside coach Mike Falleur has been looking for a complete game from his team.

The Grizzlies gave Falleur that complete game, when they needed it most.

FS NORTHSIDE 35, FS SOUTHSIDE 13

FS Northside ^14 ^7 ^0 ^14 — ^35

FS Southside ^7 ^0 ^6 ^0 — ^13

First Quarter

North – Dilworth 34 pass from Wise (Paredes kick), 9:08.

South – Gatewood 1 run (Ennis kick), 6:38.

North – Dilworth 25 pass from Wise (Paredes kick), 2:56.

Second Quarter

North – Bolton 12 run (Paredes kick), 8:24.

Third Quarter

South – Gatewood 5 run (kick failed), 7:10.

Fourth Quarter

North – Wise 1 run (Paredes kick), 11:12.

North – King 2 run (Paredes kick), 7:55.

Northside clinched a Class 7A playoff berth Friday by dominating city rival Fort Smith Southside 35-13 Friday at Rowland Stadium.

"It was time," Falleur said.

The Grizzlies (3-7, 2-5) earned the 7A-Central's fifth seed with the win and will play at Springdale Har-Ber in first-round action next week. The Mavericks (3-7, 2-5), who clinched a playoff berth last week, is the sixth seed from the Central and will travel to Fayetteville next week.

"We played a great football game tonight on both sides of the ball," Falleur said. "We had not turnovers and we got after it on defense. It was just a good football game for the first time in a long time."

Northside, which leads the series 29-25-2, won for the second straight year against Southside. The Mavericks, who had won two straight games to clinch a playoff berth, could never get its high-octane offense going as the Grizzly defense limited them to just nine possessions in the game.

"We knew we would have to keep (the receivers) in front of us because they have been (making big plays) all year long," said Falleur.

The key possession was midway in the third period. Northside was leading 21-13 and had just punted the ball to Southside at midfield. The Grizzly defense stuffed the Mavs offense, allowing just 5 yards in three plays.

The Mavericks punted to the Grizzly 14, then the Northside offense marched 86 yards in 11 plays, capped by Derrick Wise's 1-yard keeper for a 28-13 lead with 11:12 left.

"We got the punt right there but we didn't convert," Southside coach Jeff Williams said. "We had opportunities, but you got to give Northside credit. They played really well and we did not play very well."

On the next play from scrimmage, Southside quarterback Taye Gatewood was intercepted by Locke Stubblefield at the Grizzly 47. Running back Jackson King put the game out of reach with a 2-yard run with 7:55 left.

Wise was solid at quarterback, rushing for 101 yards on 24 carries while having a perfect night passing, 9-for-9 for 100 yards and two first-half touchdowns.

"He struggles at times because he not a quarterback by trade, but he got better tonight," Falleur added. "This was definitely his best ball game."

The Grizzlies built a 21-7 halftime lead thanks to a big-play, ball control offense that limited the Mavericks to just four first-half possessions. Wise threw first-quarter touchdown passes to Jordan Dilworth (34 yards) and Dearon Robinson (25 yards).

Sports on 11/04/2017