Kenney leads Panthers to win over Spain Park

The Pelham Panthers turned away the Spain Park Jaguars for a 27-10 victory last Friday night

in what is sure to become a heated rivalry

between two 6A teams in future years.

The victory came a Pelham’s Ned Bearden Stadium following the retirement of former Pelham and now University of Alabama quarterback Tyler Watts’ No. 14 PHS jersey.

&uot;This puts us at 2-1 in the region and is the next step toward making the state playoffs like we wanted to do,&uot; said PHS head football coach Sammy Queen. He called the contest against the new Hoover City School &uot;a big win for us.&uot;

Spain Park it should be pointed out is so new that it only includes players in grades 9-11. There are no seniors.

Pelham must next face John Carroll on the road this coming Friday night. John Carroll lost to Spain Park by one point and beat Oak Mountain in overtime as did Pelham, said Queen.

According to Queen, Panther Brandon Kenney rushed 26 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns. And John Graves gained 24 yards on a reverse.

He said quarterback Chris Vines completed 14 of 18 passes for 187 yards and one touchdown. And on the defensive side of the ball, Queen credited John McDow with 14 tackles.

Receiving for Pelham, John Graves caught five passes for 57 yards and Montez Billings caught seven passes for 133 yards.

On the night, Pelham made 18 first downs to 16 for Spain Park, had 191 total rushing yards to 184 for the visitors and passed for 187 yards to 100 for the Jaguars.

The Panthers fumbled once and lost one while the visiting Jaguars fumbled three times losing all three. Spain Park also suffered one interception.

Pelham was penalized eight times for 76 yards to one time for 5 yards for Spain Park.

In the kicking game, Pelham punted three times for a 32.3 yard average while Spain Park punted twice for a 37 yard average.

The Jaguars’ field goal kicker Neil Caudle hit for one field goal of 21 yards.

Spain Park held a slight 26:01 to 21:59 minute edge in time of possession.

Jaguar head football coach Vince DiLorenzo spoke of lost opportunities against Pelham.

Spain Park scored first on a 21-yard field goal by Caudle.

Pelham’s Kenney next scored on a 46 yard run. The point after by Rob Warren was good. And with 3:47 left in the first quarter it was Pelham leading 7-3.

Spain Park drove to the Pelham 5-yard line, but on fourth down Caudle was turned away about a foot short of the goal … a missed opportunity.

Vines hit Montez Billings on a 73-yard pass to set up Pelham’s next score.

Kenney put Pelham up again with a run from 7 yards out. And with the point after by Warren, PHS led Spain Park 14-3 at the 7:37 mark of the second quarter.

Spain Park again drove deep into Pelham territory but a fumble turned the ball back over to Pelham at the Panther 7-yard line. Yet another Spain Park turnover, this time an interception, killed a Jaguar drive. And Pelham ran out the clock for a 14-3 halftime lead.

Kenney and Warren combined to up to the Pelham lead to 21-3 at the 11:21 mark of the fourth quarter. Kenney scored from about a foot out. And Warren booted the point after.

The Jaguars finally cracked the end zone on a 4-yard run by E.J. Riggins. And with the point after by Caudle, the visitors were back in the game 21-10 with more than eight minutes left in the contest.

But Pelham would not be denied. And the Panthers next scored on 3-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Chris Vies to Montez Billings. Warren’s point after put the home team up 27-10 with 5:25 left in the game. And that’s the way thing stood when Pelham’s Vines took a knee to run out the scoreboard clock