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The Skyhawks stayed tough despite being outgained by the Generals thanks to four turnovers, three in the fourth quarter.

PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Southridge football's Jackson Powell runs the ball against Grant on Sept. 9 at Southridge High School.

Dropping down a classification is never an easy decision to make, but it's one the Southridge High football team made before the 2022 season.

With plenty to prove hosting 6A's Grant on Friday, the Skyhawks pulled off the upset 19-0 behind four turnovers and a night and day difference on offense from the first three quarters to the fourth.

Meanwhile the Generals have to pick up the pieces on a frustrating night on offense that saw plenty of movement, but no points to show for it.

Here are three takeaways from the Skyhawks' 19-0 victory:

TOO MANY MISTAKES

Southridge only ran 12 plays on offense in the first half, thanks in part to Grant's defense giving up only one first down.

What also aided the Skyhawks lack of touches were the long, sustained drives the Generals had in the first half.

The first big one started on the Generals own 3-yard line and saw them march it inside the 10 of Southridge. But a fumbled snap and two incompletions resulted in a turnover on downs.

The next big drive ended in turmoil as Southridge's Errol Moreland intercepted a tipped pass off the fingers of Grant's Jayden Moses and ran it back to the house for a 95-yard interception return touchdown.



The Skyhawks picked it up defensively in the fourth, picking off Grant QB Kellen Segel two more times, both by junior Cole Larson, to help seal the deal.

"We had some checks and adjustments we could make to take advantage of certain things (Grant) would line up in," Southridge coach Kevin Bickler said. "We tell our kids, 'When your opportunity is there, you gotta make it and take advantage of it,' and they did."

Jackson Powell recovered a fumble on the Generals final drive to truly put the game away with under 2 minutes to go, giving Southridge four turnovers on the night.

But it wasn't just turnovers hurting the Generals, it was also penalties. Grant would have had 273 total yards on the night, but 69 penalty yards reduced that to 204 on nine calls.

Whether it was a turnover or penalty stalling the drive, Grant seemed to do it each time it had possession. The Generals only gave up 107 total yards to the Skyhawks to lead the yardage battle 204-107.

Grant running back Marcus Rouse finished with the best offensive day, picking up 123 yards on 20 carries.

PMG PHOTO: JOHN LARIVIERE - Grant football's Marcus Rouse runs the ball against Southridge on Sept. 9 at Southridge High School.

However, four turnovers are a crushing blow to one side, and a motivator to the other.

"We came in with a lot of momentum, there was a lot of energy in the locker room," Powell said of the four takeaways. "It brought a lot of momentum into us and I feel like it was a big part of the game."

STICKING WITH IT

It's not easy to stay in a game when you only have 37 total yards at halftime, yet Southridge had exactly that and also had a 7-0 lead.

Sticking with Powell, the senior had only three carries for five yards in the first half. But the running back kept plugging away and finally found some holes in the fourth quarter.

After a Grant punt, Powell got his number called and ripped off a 17-yard run, which was the longest offensive play the Skyhawks had all game.

Later in the drive, he finished the job on a 1-yard run to put his team up 13-0. Following Larson's first INT, Powell did it again from three yards out, finishing the night with 16 carries for 69 yards and two TDs.

"Jackson Powell is a beast, he doesn't want to come off the field, he's in the weight room 24/7," Bickler said. "He was born to be a football player. He was regular Jackson Powell tonight and that's what we expect from him all season."

The defensive side hung in too, especially after the big first-half interception touchdown. Larson stepped up with an interception over the middle in the fourth when Segel didn't see him cutting to the right.

The second one came on a scramble from Segel and ended with Larson catching the ball and taking a big hit from the Grant receivers.



"(Larson) was a JV player last year and he's really grown up this year," Bickler said. "He's become a real fierce competitor, he's fast, he's physical. I'm really impressed with how much growth he's shown in the past year."

WHAT'S NEXT

For Grant, it's back to the drawing board on offense, mostly with how to finish drives.

The Generals had plenty of chances, but dropped passes doomed the wideouts and the momentum went out the door on their big drives inside the 20.

Next week is the start of league play with a home game against 1-1 Ida B. Wells.

For Southridge, sitting at 2-0, the Skyhawks feel they made quite the statement with a win over 6A playoff team from 2021 in Grant.

"We had a lot of motivation since we dropped down 5A, we wanted to have a 6A win under our belt to prove that we can still do it," Powell said.

The Skyhawks go back to a 5A opponent by opening up league play at Hood River Valley next week.

While the win over Grant is a nice confidence booster, Bickler wants his guys focused on what's immediately in front of them.

"We just had a great accomplishment, and I think if we keep working like we have been, we can be a pretty special group and do some special things," Bickler said. "This is the hardest working group I've had in a long time, and they've bought in."


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