Turnovers plague Warriors Fumbles prove costly as Panthers roar in opener 35-21

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Pelham High School capitalized on two key turnovers while scoring 28 unanswered points in the second half to defeat rival Thompson 35-21 Friday night.

Thompson, who was in control for much of the first half, lost possession and momentum in the third quarter when quarterback Tony Myers was rocked by Pelham linebacker Scooter Alford.

Alford’s hit separated Myers from the ball, which was scooped up by defensive back Cody Wash and carried 67 yards for a touchdown.

Thompson fumbled the ensuing kickoff return and Pelham again took advantage, recovering the ball inside the Thompson 20 yard line.

Panthers defensive back Rusty Jones fell on the ball to set up a scoring drive that gave Pelham the lead.

On top of the fumble recovery Jones recorded 15 tackles, including four for a loss.

The go-ahead touchdown came on a one-yard run by freshman backup quarterback Wes Holland, who took over for starter Chase Armstrong.

Armstrong left the game midway through the third quarter with an injured hand after scoring on a 2-yard keeper.

Holland added another one-yard score to finish off the Warriors late in the fourth quarter at Ned Bearden Stadium.

The fumbles proved costly for Thompson, who added an interception to bring the Warrior turnover total to three.

&uot;It seemed like our bolt just busted and we didn’t respond well after that,&uot; said Thompson head coach Ricky Seale.

&uot;Effort-wise we didn’t quit, but after you make mistakes you’ve got to forget about them and come together as a team and we didn’t handle that well.&uot;

The Warriors offense was also hampered by a slew of penalties.

&uot;On one drive we had 45 yards in penalties,&uot; Seale said.

Overall Thompson was flagged 17 times for 137 yards. But the Warriors still managed 15 first downs and 231 yards rushing behind a solid performance by the offensive line.

&uot;We had some big plays from certain people,&uot; Seale said. &uot;We felt like our offensive line played well.&uot;

Thompson’s Landon Vickery, Rick Paschal and Tommy Armstrong combined for 37 knockdown blocks.

Running back Eric Bogan followed the bruising blockers for 103 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries and Tony Bell added 46 yards and a score. But it wasn’t enough to topple Pelham.

The Panther ground game, led by Senior running back Drew Burleson’s 10 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown, matched Thompson’s offensive output, rushing for 232 yards.

Neither team completed more than four passes or threw for more than 50 yards.

Pelham will take on Hewitt-Trussville at home Friday night while Thompson will play host to Jackson-Olin at Fair Park