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Northside's running game too much for Sipsey Valley

Sipsey Valley's Garrett Lewis (5) carries the ball during a game against X at Northside High School in Samantha, Ala. on Friday, Oct. 4, 2013. (Photo by Erin Nelson)

By Charlie Potter

SAMANTHA | The Northside Rams relied on its running game to outlast the Sipsey Valley Bears, 42-35, for a homecoming victory Friday night.

The Rams (4-2, 4-0 in Class 3A, Region 3 play) amassed 401 yards on the ground, with running back A.J. Travis accounting for 277 yards and three touchdowns on 33 carries.

Northside coach Chris Hilliker said Travis ran the ball the way a coach dreams when he calls the play.

"He does a great job with what we do, and he runs exactly where we want him to run," Hilliker said. "Our schemes are set up to try to get him off tackle. … He just does a good job of staying with it. Sometimes it's not there, but he just stays with it."

Not to be outdone, Sipsey Valley quarterback Garret Lewis sparked the Bears' offense, throwing for 200 yards and four touchdowns on 12-of-16 passing. Lewis and the Bears (1-5, 0-4) scored the first points of the night when Lewis found Tyler Duncan on a 46-yard pass.

On the ensuing drive, Travis busted a 27-yard run down the Rams' sideline that led to a 15-yard pass from quarterback Justin Beck to Terrance Lucas. It was Lucas' only pass attempt of the night.

Travis praised the play of his offensive line for leading the way for a dominant rushing performance from both Travis and Alex Maluda, who rushed for 97 yards and two scores. He and Hilliker made it a point to acknowledge Stewart Abernathy, Adam Watson, Alex Perry, Jordan Smith, Devin Anderson and Aaron Reed's blocking performances.

"The offensive line did a great job. Those guys have done a very good job for us all season," Hilliker said. "A.J.'s going to carry the football, and they did a great job of blocking for him. Alex Maluda stepped up tonight and really made some plays running the football for us."

The Rams and Bears exchanged punches all night, but Northside's running game was too much for Sipsey Valley to handle.

"I can't say that a lot went wrong, maybe a couple times we lost contain defensively. But for the most part, we played really solid defensively," Sipsey Valley coach Antonio Ford said. "We've just got to tip our hat to Northside. They came in with a great game plan. They ran it, and we had difficulties stopping it."

Travis and the Rams offense accumulated 24 first downs and held the ball for most of the night, a night that could not have turned out better for Travis.

"I dreamed about it last night, having a big night," Travis said. "Looks like it came true."

Both teams will play on their home fields in region action next week. Northside will face Gordo, while Sipsey Valley takes on Green County.