Spartans run over Pelham
Panther fans knew they were in for a long night once J.D. Marsh was lifted into the air by the entire Pelham (2-1, 2-1) defensive line and got away for a 32-yard dash down the left sideline for a touchdown.
That score put Mountain Brook (3-0, 3-0) up 19-0 en route to a 33-19 victory to remain among the top in Class 6A, Region 6.
Marsh continued to do what he’d done in previous weeks against Thompson and Oak Mountain by cutting through the defense and eating up yards, collecting 167 in the game on 27 carries and two touchdowns.
“I hope not,” said Pelham head coach Brett Burnett when asked if he thought he’d see a running back like Marsh again this season. “He’s special. He did a great job keeping his feet moving. He’s just a super running back. What did he have, about 1,000 yards tonight?”
As if Marsh’s carries were not damage enough, quarterback Judd Golsan added 119 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, as the Spartans ran the ball a combined 291 yards – the most a Pelham team has allowed this season.
“We’ve had this problem with the run and the inconstancy on offense the whole year. The problem with tonight was they didn’t make mistakes at the end like the other two teams we’ve played did,” Burnett said.
Pelham received the opening kickoff but stalled and was forced to punt, however a high snap gave the Spartans the ball on the Pelham 13. Moments later, Mountain Brook took the lead, 3-0, on a 22-yard field goal by Edward McGuffey. Pelham turned around and fumbled two possessions later to give the Spartans the ball in the red zone again. The defense once again held to force a McGuffey field goal.
“We put our defense in a bad situation twice early in the game, and they only gave up six, so that’s hats off to our defense,” Burnett said. “We couldn’t get anything going offensively, and you can’t ask your defense to just keep playing and playing and playing.”
Golsan found Price Hamilton on a 37-yard pass on the Spartans’ next possession, followed by Marsh’s Houdini-like escape from the Pelham defense and another Marsh touchdown to give Mountain Brook a 26-0 halftime lead.
Pelham woke up in the second half, with Tripp Martin firing passes of 40 yards and 27 yards to Shawn Lynch to help set up a short pass to Trent Daniels for the Panthers’ first points with 7:54 left in the third quarter.
While Golsan answered with a touchdown run, Pelham struck again with 7:03 left in the game on a 6-yard pass to Will Hyden from Martin to pull within three touchdowns, 33-13.
Pelham closed the scoring in the final minute with a 45-yard pass to Dominique Harris. Alvin Hines 2-point pass was unsuccessful.
“The thing I still like about my kids is that they didn’t quit. We’ve got to find a way to stop the run and get better on offense. The most important thing is not this loss, but what we’ll do from this loss,” Burnett said.
What they can do with that loss will be highly test next week when Vestavia Hills (2-1, 2-0) comes to town.