The Game: Hillside, Southern coaches take a 2nd look
Hillside’s 29-24 win over Southern in Friday’s inaugural Bull City Labor Day Classic at Durham County Memorial Stadium could well have been the signature area game of the 2013 season.
If the offensive execution by the Hornets and Spartans wasn’t exceptional, the competition and intensity levels certainly were, Southern led in both halves and had a chance to pull it out at the end but Hillside’s defenders denied the Spartans.
“I’m proud of my guys,” Southern coach Adrian Jones said Sunday. “I told them not to hang their heads. They lost to a good team. I also told them that we have a bigger goal than just winning that one game. It’s to win the state (3-A) championship.”
The biggest loss the Spartans might have suffered in that game was to injury. Senior co-captain Doug Satterfield, a 5-9, 195-pound anchor on the defensive front, suffered the third concussion of his high school career in the first half and was hospitalized. The prognosis for Satterfield’s health is good, Jones said, but he and his family decided not to take any further health risks and he has called it a career, Jones said.
“It’s a tough loss for us,” Jones said, “but he’s still our captain and he’ll be on the sidelines as a player-coach. He’s a leader who knows how to talk to the guys and he’ll still be doing that, still making an impact.”
Satterfield’s on-field replacement for the rest of the season — as he was Friday night after the injury — will be 6-2, 300 defensive tackle Xavier Harrison, a senior transfer student from Illinois.
“Xavier got a lot of playing time Friday night and he’ll get better as the season goes along,” Jones said. “He’s like a lot of transfers — he hasn’t been in our system, so it’ll take him a couple of games to really get adjusted to it. But he’ll be fine.”
Hillside and Southern combined for 26 penalties for almost 300 yards Friday, but since it was just the second game for Hillside and the season opener for Southern, remarkably only one five-yard penalty was assessed, that to Southern’s defense for encroachment on a fourth-and-short play in Hillside territory when the Hornets were obviously trying to draw Southern offsides.
The rest of the calls were for between 10 and 15 yards a pop — unsportsmanlike conduct, holding and offensive and defensive pass interference — and were split fairly evenly throughout.
Both coaches — Jones and Hillside’s Antonio King — said their teams, considered among the best in the 4-A (Hillside) and 3-A (Southern) ranks statewide, needed to cut down on the penalties as the season goes forward, but neither questioned his players’ efforts.
“Southern and Hillside always brings out the best in the kids,” King said Sunday. “A lot of these kids are friends, some of them are best friends, and it means a lot to them. They’re doing everything they can to win. It’s hard to get mad at them (about the penalties).”
King actually drew one of the unsportsmanlike conduct penalties while complaining about a pass interference call that went against his Hornets.
“We’ve gotta do better on penalties,” King said. “We increased our penalties from the first week (eight) to about 10. We can’t shoot ourselves in the foot.”
Jones agreed and added that in addition to eliminating penalties, the Spartans need to speed up the tempo of their offense, presumably to get more plays for outstanding skill players like future collegians QB Kendall Hinton, wide receiver Maurice Trowell and running/slot backs William Cameron and Jordan Brown.
LINE PLAY KEY
The battle in the trenches was tenacious Friday night. Hillside knew it was strong across both fronts, but its advantage there wasn’t nearly as decisive as some might have guessed, particularly after Southern lost Satterfield.
“I kinda knew our defense would be good,” Jones said. “But our defensive line did a good job, a real good job, and our offensive line did a heckuva job. And that’s something we have to hang our hats on in order to reach our goals.”
“We left some points on the field,” King said. “But I’m pleased at the way we played for game two of the season — and a rivalry game.”
King wants junior quarterback Nas Forté-Ferguson, a first-year starter, to improve his pass completion percentage as the season goes along. By King’s count, Forté-Ferguson is 18 for 46 on the year, a 39 percent completion rate.
“He’s gotta be on the other side of 50 percent completions for us,” King said.
Forté-Ferguson was 9 for 21 for 125 yards and a 35-yard scoring pass to Ray Green Friday night. Southern’s Hinton was 12 for 23 for 148 yards and an interception (by Hillside’s Jalon Bethea). Forté-Ferguson lost a TD when Trevion Thompson was called for offensive pass interference after hauling in a long ball in the end zone. Thomas pushed off on the play.
Hillside’s defense held Southern to just 97 rushing yards on 25 carries Friday night. Hinton (11 for 52) led the way, followed by Brown (8 for 27) and Cameron (6 for 18). Hillside got 190 yards on 37 carries, Donte Thomas-Williams rushing for 124 on 24 carries.
Hillside (2-0) has an open date this week, while Southern (0-1) travels to Boiling Springs Lake, near Southport, to meet 0-2 South Brunswick, also a 3-A program. South Brunswick has been outscored 71-0 in games against Wallace-Rose Hill and St. Pauls, but the three-hour bus ride and road atmosphere promises to test the Spartans, Jones said.
Hillside intentionally left Friday as an open date, athletic director Bobby Hill said Sunday. Hillside, ranked No. 11 in the state and No. 7 in Class 4-A in the most recent MaxPreps.com poll, defeated then No. 5 New Bern in its opener before besting Southern, the state’s No. 21-ranked 3-A team. “Play two tough ones, then get a week off,” said Hill, a former Hillside football coach himself.
“It’s nice to have a week off,” King said. “We don’t have any big injuries — just some nagging things — and this will give us a chance to get healthy.”
The schedule doesn’t get easier when Hillside travels to Greensboro Dudley on Sept. 13. Dudley (2-0) was ranked 26th overall and 20th in the 4-A ranks by MaxPreps prior to Friday’s game.
New polls should be out Tuesday or Wednesday.
NOTES — A Hillside cheerleader who collapsed and was taken off the sidelines via stretcher and ambulance, was treated for dehydration Friday and is apparently OK, Hill said Sunday.