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Brewer D struggles with Southside

Benjamin Maxwell
Special to the Enquirer

SOUTHSIDE – The Brewer Patriots (1-8) fell in their final regional matchup of the season to Southside-Gadsden (6-3) 62-20 on Friday. The Patriots were able to build momentum in the first half, however the young defense struggled to find an answer to the Panthers powerful rushing attack.

“We have to learn to play regardless of the situation,” said Styles.

“We had three ninth graders and an eighth grader on defense. We had young kids that played OK at times, but we broke down during critical times. Right now, there are so many lingering doubts in the minds of some, to the point that when something happens they get the feeling of ‘here we go again.’”

The ‘here we go again’ feeling came early for the Patriots as Southside opened the game up with a 29-yard touchdown run by junior Ashton Krackle to give the Panthers their lead in the first two minutes. A successful point after attempt from David Simpson gave Southside a 7-0 lead.

The Brewer offense showed its late season determination. Senior quarterback Weston Pritchett led his team with an impressive passing attack in the Patriots opening drive. Pritchett went five-for-six on his first drive.

He capped the drive off with a six-yard touchdown pass to Brendon Deberry to answer the Panther’s opening drive. The failed point after attempt however left the Patriots still trailing 7-6.

Pritchett did not stop there, neither did his receiving crew. In the first half, Pritchett connected on 17 of his 23 passes. He totaled 151 yards while spreading the field to four separate receivers.

Brendon Deberry led the team in the first half with 68 yards receiving and two touchdowns, including a 15-yard reception to open the second quarter. Nicholas Humphries tallied 54 yards, Ethan Holmes recorded 18 yards and Drew Styles marked off 11 yards in just the first half.

Despite the offensive success, it was Brewer’s defensive struggle that caused its misfortune. Southside scored on all four of its first half drives as well as a Asthon Kracke kickoff return for a touchdown. This led to Brewer trailing 35-12 at halftime.

“On defense we are struggling on some key positions,” Styles said. “We have to be able to make plays when we know what is coming at us. We go to practice every day and we do all of the right things but it just isn’t manifesting itself on the field. We have to get to the point where it is.”

Turnovers were costly for the Patriots in the second half. Brewer committed a total of four turnovers in the half, including two in the third quarter; both of which were turned into Southside points.

Trailing 49-12 heading into the fourth quarter Brewer showed its resilience. Patriot’s senior Cody Frost exploited Southside’s first mistake of the game when the Panthers fumbled on the first drive of the fourth quarter. Frost pounced on the loose ball giving the Patriots possession at the Panther’s 30 yard line.

However Brewer turned the ball back over to the Panthers with a fumble on the ensuing drive. With Southside still exploiting the Patriots defense, Brewer’s offense turned its running game. Patriot’s running back DeSean Walker pounded his way through the Southside defense late in the quarter. After repeated carries and tough hits he found his way into the end zone on a two yard play. Pritchett connected to Styles for a two point play, but in the end Southside claimed victory 62-20.

“We are at the point now that we are working to finish strong and give some kids some good experience,” said Styles. “Good things are around the corner. We can tell kids to ‘out physical’ opponents, but when they are able to and confident to be completive then we will begin to see improvement.”

Though region play is now over for Brewer, the Patriots still have one last important matchup. Brewer will host cross-county rival Priceville for its 2012 homecoming on Nov. 2.

“They shouldn’t need a lot of motivation from me,” Styles said.

“For the seniors this is there last go around and for the younger kids it is there last chance to get us on the right foot heading into next year. It is homecoming week and our last game so that in itself should be motivation enough.