BAILEY – With a boisterous homecoming crowd packing the stands and lining much of the fence, Southern Nash started the same way it had for much of the season Friday night.
A little more than 15 seconds into the game, and the Firebirds were ahead seven points. It took just one play.
From there, the Firebirds slowly let off the gas.
The rest of the game didn’t exactly play out like thet first four weeks of the season for the Firebirds.
South Granville rallied back and eventually caused the Firebirds’ first loss of the season, 23-13, at Southern Nash High School.
“After we made a touchdown, we thought it was going to be easy,” offensive lineman Cameron Gardner said. “We thought we were going to be able to go through the motions. That wasn’t the case.”
On the first play from scrimmage, Desmon Jackson took a toss to his left, broke through the line and crossed the goal line 63 yards later.
Usually a great play to start can fuel a team for the rest of the game. Instead, Southern Nash (4-1) went flat in its first loss of the season.
“They adjusted,” Jackson said. “They got into it. It wasn’t so much us. They were a pretty good team.
“We just got punched in the mouth.”
The Firebirds never had trailed before Friday, but when South Granville (4-1) drove right back down the field and scored, it set Southern Nash back in its paces.
Still, the Firebirds came back with a 15-play touchdown drive.
Southern Nash rebounded from South Granville’s first counter, but it couldn’t recover from its own mishaps.
The Firebirds fumbled the ball five times – losing it twice – and committed 11 penalties – eight in the first half.
“It just never clicked,” Southern Nash coach Brian Foster said. “It was just one of those nights, and we had it at every level.”
Southern Nash’s offensive line, which had been dominant in the first four games of the season, lost the battle at the line of scrimmage.
Starting running back Rashid Campbell, who has rushed for more than 500 yards already this year, was hesitant and missed holes.
Plays just didn’t go the Firebirds way.
“It was shocking that it wasn’t going to be easy, and it took too long to adjust,” Gardner said. “At the end we started going, but it was just too late.”