Second-round bound: Panthers punish Bob Jones in playoff premiere

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The Pelham Panthers defeated a pesky bunch of Patriots from Bob Jones High School 49-28 last Friday night to advance to the second round of the state playoffs and a date on the road with Minor.

While the Panthers dominated the scoreboard, the Patriots actually out rushed the Panthers 187 to 94 yards. But Pelham held the advantage through the air 239 to 188 yards.

Pelham quarterback Josh Thomason completed 14 of 20 passes for 239 yards and three touchdowns.

He also led the team in rushing with 75 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.

&8220;I&8217;ve never really been a running quarterback until this year,&8221; said Thomason. But he said the offensive line was the reason for any of his success. &8220;I had all night to pass. Running the ball, the holes were wide open and so that helped a lot.&8221;

The Panthers&8217; Wes Holland rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown, while Russell Prince rushed for another 57 yards.

Holland said he thought the team came out, a little flat. But, he said,

&8220;Our O-line just blew them apart.&8221;

While he gave credit to the offensive line and his quarterback, he said the key to the win was &8220;basically the whole team working together.&8221;

Of getting past the first round of the state playoffs, Holland said, &8220;It&8217;s a relief because, you know, we&8217;ve never been past the first step and now we&8217;re past it … we&8217;ll keep working to get to the state championship.&8221;

Referring to pooch kicks that seemed to catch Bob Jones off guard, Pelham head football coach Brett Burnett said the kicking game is big in the playoffs. He said one failure to execute a fair catch on a kickoff by Bob Jones, however, was a gift.

&8220;Defensively we didn&8217;t play well at times,&8221; said Burnett. &8220;You&8217;ve got to give Bob Jones credit … they were able to run the ball and move the ball on us more so than we would like to see, but we hung in there and got through it.&8221;

The Panthers struck first on a 7-yard run by Holland. Thomason followed that score up with two 5-yard touchdown runs of his own.

The Patriots and the Panthers seemed to swap blows after that, but Pelham held on to the lead.

Thomason next scored on a 10-yard run, Holland on a 23-yard run, Shawn Lynch on a 32-yard pass from Thomason and Holland on a 12-yard pass from Thomason.

The 8-3 Panthers will travel to play 6-5 Minor this Friday night in the second round of the state playoffs