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LANSING | The annual rivalry football game between T.F. South and T.F. North always holds some meaning, but for two teams fighting to remain in the playoff discussion, the importance of Friday's contest exponentially increased.

The Rebels ultimately rose to the occasion, as their stellar execution on both ends of the ball resulted in a 35-6 blowout of the Meteors. The game marked the teams' 59th consecutive meeting since Thornton Fractional split into two schools in the mid-1950s, with South grabbing its 39th win in the matchup's history on Friday. The Rebels also improved to 3-3 on the year.

Early in the opening quarter, it looked as though North would create issues for South, as the visitors scored first following an 80-yard drive. The Rebels got on the board less than a minute later, though, on a 56-yard run by junior running back Sterling Smith.

The home team dominated from that point forward, particularly during the second half when South limited the Meteors to nearly 50 total yards.

Rebels coach Tom Padjen acknowledged the solid all-around effort his team displayed in the contest that prevented North from establishing much momentum.

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"The big difference was the play of our offensive line in the second half," he said. "I challenged them (at halftime) to dominate the line of scrimmage, and they did a good job of creating running room for Sterling.

"Lots of people counted us out at 1-3, but we've been working hard and have put ourselves in a position where it's (now) a three-game season."

Smith, who scored four South touchdowns and finished with nearly 200 rushing yards, agreed with his coach that the next few weeks will decide the Rebels' season.

"I'm happy we came through (tonight), but we need to keep rolling and win (these upcoming) games against playoff teams," he said. "We should use this (win) as momentum, and we need to keep our previous losses in mind."

North dropped to 2-4 on the season but received a notable performance from senior running back Anthony Watkins, who rushed for about 100 total yards.

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Sports Copy Editor

Jim is a copy editor for The Times who works out of Valparaiso. A South Central High School (1984) and Ball State ('89) grad, he’s covered preps most of his career. He received the Indiana High School Wrestling Coaches Association’s Media Award in 1997.

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Matt is a web editor for The Times. He came to the Region after spending the first 10 years of his career with the Longview Daily News, Lincoln Journal Star and Peninsula Daily News. He is a graduate of Arizona State University.

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Laura is the digital news director at The Times. She spends her time watching analytics, keeping tabs on social media, creating graphics, etc. The Lansing native and Columbia College Chicago grad has been with The Times since 2012. No relation to Lois.