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Driggers’ first Rebel memory ruined by talented South Side

Driggers’ first Rebel memory ruined by talented South Side
Hopefully, there will be better days — and nights — for Jason Driggers.
When and how soon is the next order of business.
“We just got beat by an awfully good football team. Now we have to turn the page and start working on correcting our mistakes and getting better every day like we’ve talked about,” said Driggers, whose head coaching debut was ruined by former employer Jackson South Side in the Hawks’ 41-3 thumping of Obion Central Friday night.
“I knew how good South Side was and what we’d be up against. Nobody said it’d be easy. They’re that good, and we didn’t help ourselves by making all the mistakes we made. We’re not good enough to overcome those bad plays right now. I do expect us to learn from this, though, and when we play again in two weeks, I expect us to be better than we were tonight.
The Hawks — coming off an 11-1 campaign and the preseason favorites to repeat their Region 6-3A championship run of a year ago — were clearly the superior of the two clubs in Friday’s 2007 season opener for both programs.
So big was the difference between the two that the state’s newly-adopted mercy rule was invoked late in the third period after the visiting Jacksonians had gone ahead by more than 35 points. The clock ran continuously for the last 15 minutes of the contest.
South Side indeed dominated a relatively-young and inexperienced OC squad with its overall athleticism and took advantage of five Rebel turnovers, scoring three times in a two-minute second-quarter span to break open what was then a 6-3 game.
Four interceptions and a lost fumble contributed greatly to an Obion Central offense that struggled to consistently move the ball and produced just 91 total yards. They operated out of both the spread-set and I-formation, neither of which was particularly better than the other. Quarterbacks Patrick Haskins and Andrew Heuck combined to complete just one-third (6-of-18) of their attempts while being picked four times, and a ground game netted minus-8 yards with Haskins the top rusher with 14 yards.
“We’ve been talking about a slogan and ours probably needs to just be ‘one play at a time,’ because we can’t afford to have negative plays offensively that put us in a hole because we just don’t have the firepower to get out of second- and third-and-longs,” Driggers added. “We never found any rhythm with either of our offenses, and when we did make a positive play, we’d take two steps backward.”
Defensively, OC often was in position to make plays, but many times simply saw Hawk ballcarriers elude or outrun tackles with their superior talents.
“They just had too much speed,” the OC coach continued. “We had guys there at times, but they just didn’t make plays because South Side was better than us athletically.”
Wide receiver-turned-tailback Michael Newbern rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown, fullback Ken James hit paydirt twice and quarterback Wil Masoud completed one of his two passes for a touchdown as the Hawks led 34-3 at the half before using multiple reserves over the final two periods in a sportsmanship gesture by head coach Jerry Hayes toward his previous pupil Driggers.
There were a handful of bright spots for the Rebels.
After Chase Roney recovered a fumble punt by SS’s Keenan Nance, OC marched for its only score — a 26-yard field goal by Heuck — late in the opening period.
Haskins scrambled for gains of nine and 10 yards out of the shotgun, then hooked up with Hunter Calhoun for a 20-yard gainer on a 3rd-and-16 play on a ball that was initially tipped by a Hawk defender before Calhoun caught the deflection and rambled inside the 10. Three plays later, Heuck connected for a three-pointer at 1:31 of the first period.
Central threatened to score again late in the half after Haskins and Heuck connected on a pretty wheel-route pass play for 38 yards to the South Side 25. Three snaps later, though, Haskins was intercepted by James to end the drive.
OC’s lone significant pickup of the second half was a 33-yard pass play from Heuck to Garrett Montgomery.
Defensively, Clint Jones, Jake Morris and Calhoun each were in on seven tackles for the Rebels. Bo Childers was credited with six stops, and Jordan Clouse registered two tackles for lost yardage.
Obion Central has an open date this week before playing at Ripley on Sept. 7.

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