SPRINGDALE — Fort Smith Southside forced two crucial first-half turnovers and held Springdale High to a season-low 148 yards of offense as the Rebels cruised to a 36-3 win to spoil Senior Night at Bulldog Stadium.
Southside scored two touchdowns in the final minute of the opening half to turn a one-score game into a cushy 23-3 halftime lead en route to the blowout win. The victory kept Southside (7-2, 5-1 7A-West) in the running for the conference title and set up a showdown at crosstown rival Fort Smith Northside (8-1, 5-1) in the regular-season finale next week.
Southside senior cornerback Dontae Perry came up with a key, diving interception in the end zone to halt a second-quarter Springdale drive after the Bulldogs picked up a first down at the Rebel 2-yard line. Then the Rebels turned a Springdale fumble into a second score in the last minute of the second quarter.
Southside was able to hold Springdale quarterback Fuller Chandler and a Bulldog pass attack ranked No. 1 in the conference in check a week after the junior had 496 total yards and five touchdowns at Northside. Chandler finished 11 of 27 for 120 yards with an interception and two lost fumbles.
Southside quarterback Clay Tyler shook off an early interception to put together a steady performance, completing 22 of 35 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns, along with the rushing touchdown and the 42 rushing yards. He was a key reason Southside converted multiple key third downs in the first half, often finding senior receiver Andrew Barley, who finished with 10 catches for 127 yards and a touchdown.
- It took the teams a combined six drives to pick up a first down. Southside finally picked one up on its third possession. Springdale didn’t pick up a first down until its fifth drive.
- Southside running back JD Rivaldo ran for a game-high 63 yards on 10 carries, most of it coming on his 51-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
- Southside held Springdale senior receiver Salvador Sandoval to 19 yards on three catches a week after Sandoval, the leading receiver in the conference, had 13 catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns at Northside.
- Springdale began the game without injured right tackle Jose Ambriz and lost right guard Kaleb Wade to injury on the first series.
- Springdale recognized its 33 seniors prior to the game.
Check out Saturday’s Northwest Arkansas Newspapers for the full game story.