Hoover offense proves to be too much for Panthers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 18, 2005

The Pelham Panthers entered Friday’s game at Hoover in control of their playoff fate. After the first three plays, however, that control was all but gone.

Not only did the Panthers lose 35-7, they also fell into a three-way tie for fourth place in Region 6; which put their playoff hopes in doubt.

The contest between Pelham and Hoover was a mismatch from the beginning, as Hoover dominated all facets.

The game did not start well for Pelham.

Their first possession started from their own eight-yard line and gained six yards on two plays to set up a third down and four from the 14-yard line.

Thomason attempted a flanker screen, which was read all the way by Buccaneer defensive back Camryn Stokes.

Stokes stepped in front of the pass, intercepted it and ran the ball into the end zone to put Hoover up by a touchdown just two and a half minutes into the game.

On Hoover’s first offensive series, the Bucs took the ball from their 47-yard line down to the Pelham nine on a drive that included two fourth down conversions.

Pelham’s Patrick Powell forced a fumble to stop Hoover and turn the ball over at the 10-yard line.

The Panther offense was again stymied in three plays and forced to punt.

Hoover quarterback Ross Wilson picked up where he left off, taking his team right down the field again.

He hit Jeremy Foreman on a 10-yard scoring pass to finish off a 10-play, 53 yard drive and put the Buccaneers ahead, 14-0, with 10:56 left in the second quarter.

Neither team was able to sustain much offense until 1:47 left in the half.

A good Panther punt gave Hoover the ball at their six-yard line. The next two plays showed how overmatched the Pelham defensive backs were.

Wilson completed passes of 43 and 31 yards to give the Bucs first and goal on the eight with only 38 seconds in the half.

Two quarterback keepers later, Wilson ran the ball in from the two to put the Panthers in a three-touchdown hole. The hole almost got deeper before the half ended, however.

The following kickoff went out of bounds and Pelham had good field position at the 35.

On first down, Thomason’s pass was intercepted to put the Hoover offense back on the field.

They moved the ball to the two-yard line with 2 seconds left in the half.

This time the Pelham defense held though, stuffing a handoff as time expired.

The second half went just about the same as the first as Hoover put up another touchdown when play resumed.

This time they took only 1:38 to go 78 yards.

Cornelius Williams caught a short pass at the 30-yard line on the right sideline.

He broke a tackle and cut back all the way across the field and took the ball into the end zone near the left sideline.

Williams’ scamper was symbolic of the game; he out-ran the slower Pelham defense.

Wilson connected with Williams again, this time on a five-yard pass for Hoover’s fifth touchdown with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter.

To Pelham’s credit, they did not pack it in during the fourth quarter.

With 8:57 remaining in the game the Panthers finally put a scoring drive together.

Thomason rallied and completed passes to four different receivers, including one where he led Andrew Davis, who made a nice a catch, for a 14-yard gain.

The final catch was made by Mike Stephens on a two-yard play to erase the shutout.

Next week the Panthers (5-3, 2-3) travel to Spain Park (4-4, 2-3) in what amounts to an elimination game.

Both teams are tied at 2-3 in Region 6 along with Vestavia Hills.

Pelham has already defeated Vestavia, a win at Spain Park would give the Panthers an edge in any tiebreakers.