South Dade, Southridge set for Primetime Showdown - South Dade News Leader: Sports

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South Dade, Southridge set for Primetime Showdown

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Posted: Thursday, November 15, 2018 9:54 pm

Before the season began players and coaches from South Dade and Southridge believed their goal of reaching the state championship game in Orlando was expected to take a win over their rival school in the playoffs.

Their beliefs have come true as the two schools are meeting for the second time this season.

“It’s a big rival game,” said South Dade junior defensive back Jaiden Francois. “It’s just big. A lot has been going on social media. It’s just big, but we’re not going to do too much talking. We’re just going to go out and play South Dade football.”

The South Dade Buccaneers and Southridge Spartans square off in a primetime showdown on Friday at 7:30 in the Class 8A regional semifinals at Southridge Stadium, which holds a maximum crowd of 2,800.

“I think it’s going to be one of those championship atmospheres,” Southridge head coach Sedrick Irvin said.

One of the reasons for the fierce rivalry is how well the teams know each other. Even families are split as Joe Smith is a senior safety at Southridge while younger brother Justin is a sophomore running back at South Dade. Joe Smith is one of four Spartans who were at South Dade at one point along with

senior All-American cornerback Tyrique Stevenson, senior defensive lineman Marvin Strong, and sophomore defensive tackle Leonard Taylor.

“It’s crazy just standing on the other side and seeing familiar faces and hearing familiar voices brought back a lot of memories, but I had to put the memories aside and stick to the game,” Stevenson said. “It was just kind of crazy looking at coach (Nate) Hudson, coach JD (Hudson), and coach E (Eric Hudson) just looking at them knowing I grew up with them and now I’m playing against them. It was kind of weird at first, but I had to put it to the side and play the game.”

Southridge (9-2) knocked off South Dade (9-2) 15-13 on Oct. 26 to clinch the District 16 championship setting the stage for what figures to be a thrilling sequel between two highly-talented teams.

The Spartans built a 9-0 lead on a safety and recovering a fumble in the end zone and held on for the win despite being outgained by the Bucs 303-175 in total yards.

“Statistically we basically did everything you need to do to win the game, but we didn’t take care of the ball—I think that stood out and the penalties,” South Dade head coach Nate Hudson said. “The field position didn’t help. Those are the things that can’t happen. If we get back to doing the things we did in the first seven weeks and these last two, I think we’ll be fine.”

South Dade was held 18 points below its average for the season.

“My defense played great,” Irvin said. “Any time you got a defense that plays like that, you win championships, and that was the district championship. They played their tails off. .”

It was the second straight defeat for South Dade, which began the season 7-0.

“I think we took some things for granted understanding that we would be able to bounce back off a loss and it was just going to fall in our lap and it didn’t,” Hudson said. “We also just assumed everything would be OK from there.”

The Buccaneers, which has won their last two games, have an offense led by senior Demetrius Burns, who has thrown for over 2,000 yards and accounted for over 30 touchdowns. Burns has plenty of options to turn to with three players having at least 30 receptions including senior All-American Frank Ladson.

“They’ve got a good defense overall, but we know how to beat them,” Burns said.

Southridge has receivers capable of stretching the field led by junior Marcus Fleming. Roscoe Parrish, Jaheim Jerry, and Neil Howard have also made big plays throughout the season.

However, Francois is confident after the Bucs held Antwan Anderson to 7-of-21 passing for 90 yards and three interceptions in the first meeting.

“I don’t see no threats,” Francois said. “Because our DBs’ communication is there so I feel like they’re not a threat.”

Anderson and the Spartans will be looking for a better offensive performance on Friday.

“We’ve changed a few formations and we’ve got something for them this time,” Anderson said.

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