Jake Held

Southside High playmaker Jake Held blocked his third punt of the season and got an interception in the Sharks' district win over Sam Houston on Friday.

Behind turnovers and a stifling defense that provided the offense with great field position throughout the game, homecoming night proved to be one to remember for the Southside Sharks as they rolled past the Sam Houston Broncos 44-21 in District 3-5A action Friday.

What happened

The Sharks (4-3, 3-1) took advantage of two Broncos turnovers and a blocked punt to build a 23-0 lead in the first quarter.

After Sam Houston fumbled on its first play of the game, three plays later running back Vernel Joseph walked into the end zone for a three-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead with 10:51 remaining in the opening quarter.

After both teams exchanged scoreless possessions, the Broncos (2-4, 1-3) turned it over once again, this time via an interception that was hauled in by Jake Held at the Sharks’ 48-yard line and returned 42 yards down to Sam Houston’s 10-yard line.

One play later, Joseph was once again walking into the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 13-0. Southside successfully converted the two-point conversion out of the swinging gate formation when holder Andrew Angelle ran it in to extend the lead to 15-0 with 3:20 remaining in the first.

After the Broncos’ ensuing possession stalled out after three plays, their attempted punt was blocked by Held and recovered by Bryson Jones, who returned it to Sam Houston’s 10-yard line. On the first play of the drive, the Sharks’ Landon Baptiste connected with receiver Dylan Sonnier for a 10-yard touchdown to increase Southside’s advantage to 21-0. Southside converted another two-point conversion when Angelle threw the ball to Cole Cooper in the end zone out of the swinging gate formation to extend the Sharks’ lead to 23-0 with 1:19 remaining in the first.

Southside went on to outscore the Broncos 21-7 in the second quarter behind two touchdowns from Kenneth King and a touchdown pass from Baptiste to Sonnier for a 44-7 halftime advantage.

Turning Point

Southside was leading 30-0 when Sam Houston put together its most impressive drive of the night, marching 57 yards on 11 plays to score its first touchdown of the game and cut the deficit to 30-7 with 5:31 remaining until halftime.

It appeared the scoring drive had lifted the spirits of the Broncos, as their defense came out on the ensuing possession and dropped the Sharks for back-to-back losses on the first two plays of the drive. The losses were a total of negative seven yards to bring up a third down-and-17 for the Sharks from Southside’s own 25-yard line.

But King knocked the wind out of the Broncos’ sails on a simple handoff in which he broke a couple of tackles before racing 75 yards for a touchdown. King’s touchdown run extended the Sharks’ lead to 37-7 with 3:52 remaining in the first half.

But the Sharks handed the football off to King, who broke a couple of tackles and raced 75 yards for a touchdown to give Southside a 37-7 lead with 3:52 remaining in the first half. King finished the game with 125 yards on eight carries.

Most spectacular play

With the Sharks leading 23-0 in the second quarter and the Broncos attempting to cut into the deficit before halftime, King delivered a big hit on Sam Houston quarterback Gavin Stout. King’s sack of Stout also jarred the bar loose.

King got up, located the ball which had rolled back to the Broncos’ 20-yard line and picked it up. King returned the football untouched for a touchdown to extend Southside’s lead to 30-0 with 8:56 remaining in the second quarter.

By the numbers

Defensively, the Sharks were as dominant as they have been in any game this season. Led by Held, King, Joshua Rodriguez and Trent Gilbert, Southside forced four turnovers (three fumbles, one interception) and sacked Sam Houston five times. Rodriguez finished with two and one-half sacks in the game.