FORT SMITH -- Fort Smith Northside coach Mike Falleur tried to call off a fake punt in the third quarter, but his team never got the signal.
It worked out anyway for the Grizzlies, just like it has for the last three years against their city rival Southside.
Fort Smith Northside 23, Fort Smith Southside 13
FS Southside 0 7 0 6 — 13
FS Northside 0 7 10 6 — 23
North – Wise 12 run (Hernandez kick), 7:16.
South – Schwarz 43 pass from Gatewood (Robles kick), 4:47.
North – Hernandez 30 FG, 6:16.
North – Wise 4 run (Hernandez kick), 2:16.
North – Wise 7 run (kick blocked), 3:15.
South – Solomon 5 pass from Gatewood (pass failed), 1:32.
Greg Washington's fake punt led to a Northside touchdown that propelled the Grizzlies to its third straight win over the Mavericks, a 23-13 7A-Central game Friday night at Mayo-Thompson Stadium.
Ending a three-game losing skid, Northside (6-4, 3-4) seized the Central's fourth seed and a home game next week against Van Buren in the 7A playoffs. Southside (5-5, 3-4) falls to the fifth seed and will travel to Springdale for a first-round playoff game.
"I thought our kids fought back tonight after three hard weeks," Falleur said. "You have to give Southside credit for playing a great game."
After losing 11 straight to the Mavericks, the Grizzlies now have won three in a row for the first time since the mid-1980s when they won seven consecutive (1979-85) over Southside. Northside now leads the all-time series 30-25-2.
Washington's 23-yard run on the fake gave the Grizzlies the ball at the Mavericks 46. Southside's defense finally stiffened and held Northside to a 30-yard field goal by Henry Hernandez for a 10-7 lead with 6:16 left in the third period.
The momentum, though, had swung to Northside's favor and Southside could never quite recover.
"I can't take credit for the play," Falleur said. "We tried to call it off, but they ran it anyway. Greg Washington made a great play. I thought defensively, we got after them in the second half."
Southside tried to call a trick play of its own in the fourth quarter, but Ricardo Savoy's halfback pass to Colton McBride was broken up at the last second by Elijah Tabut that saved a touchdown.
"Their trick play worked and ours didn't," Southside coach Jeff Williams said. "We also turned the ball over tonight. It was an evenly matched game, but the difference was they scored off the turnovers. We made the mistakes and they made the plays."
The Mavericks had 155 yards in the first half but were limited to just 93 yards of offense in the second quarter. Northside also scored 14 points off two interceptions in the game.
After the field goal, the Grizzlies defense forced a three-and-out and they got the ball back at its 28. A 30-yard run by Demarion Shepard and 41-yard Duece Wise bomb to Jackson King put the ball at the Maverick 5. Wise scored on the next play for a 17-7 lead late in the third period.
Northside put the game away after Tabut picked off a Gatewood pass at the Grizzly 36. That turnover led to an 11-play, 64-yard drive, capped by Wise's 7-yard run with 3:15 left for a 23-7 lead.
Northside used a turnover to get on the board first. Tyriq Adams picked off a Gatewood pass and returned it 29 yards to the Southside 26. Five plays later, Wise scored a 12-yard keeper for a 7-0 Grizzly lead with 7:16 left in the first half.
The Mavericks, though, answered with a big play for its score to tie the game.
Gatewood started the 77-yard, 5-play drive with a 23-yard keeper, and then capped the drive with a 43-yard toss to a wide-open Erich Schwarz running a post pattern for a touchdown. Connor Robles added the PAT for a 7-7 tie with 4:47 left in the second quarter.
Sports on 11/03/2018
Print Headline: PREP FOOTBALL: Fort Smith Northside too much for rival Southside