Southridge wins 49-39 to wrap up Metro League title

ALOHA — Southridge's football team opened the 2012 season with a new head coach, big questions about its quarterback position, and a 1-3 record against some of the state's best teams.

Those days, however, have gotten progressively and significantly smaller in the past five weeks, as the Skyhawks have time and time again found ways to move forward, found ways to improve and found ways to win. The team did all those for a fifth straight time on Friday night, beating Aloha — one of the Metro League favorites — 49-39 at Aloha High School.

The win capped Southridge's Metro season at 5-0 (6-3 overall) and gave the team sole possession of the league crown for the first time in school history.

“It was really a lot of fun. That was what high school football is all about,” said Southridge coach Doug Dean.

The Skyhawks, now the fourth-ranked team in the state, will open the Class 6A state playoffs with a home game on Nov. 9; Southridge's opponent will not be set until after Friday's Class 6A Play-In games are completed.

Aloha, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time after opening the year with seven straight wins and fell to 3-2 in Metro play and 7-2 overall. The sixth-ranked Warriors will, like the Skyhawks, open the Class 6A state playoffs with a home game on Nov. 9.

“We've just got to get back to attention to details and all the little things,” said Aloha coach Chris Casey. “We played hard and gave great effort (but) there were several times where we had missed alignments and missed assignments. That's a real tough combination to overcome.”

The two teams took turns trading shots in Friday's first half, Southridge opening with a 12-yard touchdown run by Jake Pruit while the Warriors answered with a 42-yard Nick Krautscheid-to-Maurice McSwain TD pass to give the Hawks a 7-6 lead at the end of the first quarter.

There was more back and forth in the second quarter, with Pruit breaking a 15-yard TD run, McSwain scoring on a nine-yard pass, Aloha's Thomas Tyner breaking a 69-yard scoring run, and Southridge responding with a 1-yard TD pass from Reza Aleaziz to Eric Scruggs that kept the Skyhawks ahead 21-20 at halftime.

But Southridge took control in the third quarter with two unanswered touchdowns by Devin Martinez to push ahead 35-20, the first of those on a nine-yard run and the second a 32-yard burst.

The Warriors roared back into contention in the fourth quarter, though, getting two big Tyner runs — one from 20 yards and the next from 58 — to close within 35-33.

Southridge didn't blink, though, and closed out its win with two more scores, first getting a 38-yard Martinez score and then adding a one-yard Pruit score. Aloha added a late eight-yard TD by Tyner but got no closer than the final 49-39 margin.

Pruit, Martinez and the Southridge offensive line proved a devastating combination in the contest, with Pruit carrying 28 times for 191 yards and Martinez adding 121 more on 18 rushes. Dean credited offensive line coach Brian Cassidy and fullback Zach Wilbur as unsung heroes in the game.

“Our two tailbacks both ran really well,” Dean said. “And our offensive line really came together with our fullbacks and tight ends.”

The Warriors got another huge day from Tyner, who carried 30 times for 372 yards, and a solid effort from Krautscheid in his first start in place of the injured CJ Eytel. Krautscheid completed 9-of-14 passes for 195 yards in the loss, with McSwain making five catches for 115.

“Krautscheid did a real nice job of stepping up,” Casey said. “And we scored enough to win. We just need to do things technically sound on defense to get the win.”

Likewise, Aleaziz — in just his second start after returning to the team — was effective again, completing 10-of-18 passes for 160 yards, four to Jordan Morgan for 75 yards.

Aloha also suffered again from its propensity to incur penalties, this time racking up 125 yards on 12 penalties.

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