King of the Mountain – Pelham rides Armstrong, O’Hara

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 5, 2004

With the score knotted up at 10 and 5:17 remaining, Pelham coach Sammy Queen challenged his offense and senior running back E.J. O’Hara to put away rival Oak Mountain at Heardmont Park Friday.

&uot;We challenged them at the end there if we got the ball back we were going to go right at them and do it,&uot; Queen said.

O’Hara and the Pelham offensive line answered the call.

&uot;Mainly I was just thinking, hold on to the ball,&uot; O’Hara said. &uot;Whether I gain five yards or negative five yards, just try and hold on to the ball, especially in that situation.&uot;

O’Hara not only held on to the ball, he moved it forward, gaining 51 yards as the Panthers drove all the way from their own 21-yard-line to score after eating five minutes off the clock.

Quarterback Chase Armstrong capped the drive with a 1-yard run, his second rushing touchdown of the night.

The last-second 17-10 victory was the latest in a series of nailbiters between the rival schools.

&uot;Every time we play (Oak Mountain), it seems like it’s a close ballgame,&uot; Queen said.

Armstrong ended with 89 yards on the ground and 47 passing yards, including a 39-yard pass to Montez Billings.

O’Hara finished with 122 yards on 24 carries.

Pelham (3-2) also scored on a 36-yard field goal from Jordan Means in the first quarter.

&uot;Our defense really played well,&uot; Queen said. &uot;They gave up 10 points in the second half, but for the most part they played really, really well.&uot;

Oak Mountain’s first points came in the third quarter when Ryan Shoemaker nailed a 44-yard field goal.

Durward Jeffries went over the top at the goal line for the Eagles in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 10.

Brett Barnhill led Oak Mountain defenders with 13 tackles while Patrick Foshee had an interception for the Eagles (1-4).

&uot;We played well defensively for three-and-a-half quarters,&uot; Oak Mountain coach Jerry Hood said. &uot;But it’s a situation at our school where we aren’t going to be satisfied with playing well and losing. We’ve got to expect more, not just to play close. That’s how you get over that hump.&uot;

Oak Mountain fell to 0-3 in region play with the loss. The Eagles will face Sparkman on the road Friday night in a non-region matchup.

Pelham, now 1-2 in Region 6,

travels to Alabaster to face heated rival Thompson at James L. Simmons Field