Pelham to open season on TV

The Pelham Panthers open their 2008 football season Friday on regional television for “The Border Classic” against Georgia powerhouse and last year’s state runner-up North Gwinnett.

The suburban Atlanta school will make the trip to Bobby Hayes Field at Ned Bearden Stadium in hopes to show the Southeast that it can compete with teams in the toughest region in Alabama, and arguably the country.

Although this will be a warm up game for Pelham, the Panthers will not be taking it lightly.

“We look forward to playing in a playoff-type atmosphere against a team with plenty of speed and talent,” Pelham offensive coordinator Jep Irwin said. “We will have to execute at a high level to score on a team like North Gwinnett.”

Irwin will look to put points on the board by running “The System,” an up-tempo spread offense similar to the one Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin uses.

Tripp Martin was named quarterback over the summer and will look to playmakers Shawn Lynch, Andrew Fields, and Ryan Williams to help lead the way Friday and throughout the season.

Pelham head coach Brett Burnett has worked to improve the Panthers in the offseason with the addition of offensive coaches Josh Herring and Charlie Harriman and defensive coaches Jason Simmons and Chris Davis. Simmons, the Panthers’ new defensive coordinator, comes from Moody, while Davis coached Hoover’s defensive line last year.

The game will be a tune up for the move back to Class 6A, Region 6.

“This is a big test. We’re going to find out a lot this Friday night about where we’re at and where we need to go,” Burnett said.

Coverage of The Border Classic will begin with a pre-game show at 6 p.m. on Comcast Sports South (CSS), followed by the game, which kicks off 7 p.m.