Pelham crushes Homewood

Published 11:38 pm Friday, September 26, 2008

Lovie Crawford III refused to fair catch the punt, braving the two Pelham gunners that shed their blockers.


Both Panthers sandwiched Homewood’s returner the instant he caught the ball, dislodging the football and leaving Crawford III cringing and holding his head. It was that kind of night for Homewood as Pelham overpowered the Patriots 28-0 at Waldrop Stadium.

Homewood quarterback Ray Powell threw three second-half interceptions. Powell missed an open David Powell down the left sideline on Homewood’s last two offensive plays, throwing the ball well out of bounds, prompting a shouting match with a Patriots assistant coach.

Powell complained about not having time to throw. His coach conceded, “Everybody around here is not getting their job done. I can’t fix that right now.”

Pelham did theirs, shutting out Homewood after allowing a combined 70 points to Mountain Brook and Vestavia the past two weeks. Teams were gashing Pelham’s defense with runs up the middle, but Homewood entered Friday rushing for 66.3 yards a game. The Panthers held Homewood to 65 rushing yards on 15 carries. Powell threw 54 passes for 149 yards.

“Honestly, it started with Sunday. We came in, we had us a ‘come to it’ practice,” senior safety Alvin Hines III said. “After the loss against Vestavia last week, we came back and worked on what we needed to work on which was tackling. We came out and our coach gave us a talk during the week and said, ‘Look, y’all are not having fun. Let’s have some fun.’ We came out during the week, we practiced with the same intensity, but we had a lot more fun with it. We celebrated a little bit, we were a lot more loose, came out and it showed.”

Two of Pelham’s second-half interceptions came after Homewood (1-4, 0-4) drove into the red zone. Pelham junior linebacker Jake Holland intercepted a third pass at midfield and recovered a fourth-quarter fumble. Junior quarterback Tripp Martin found senior receiver Will Hyden in the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown on the next play, putting Pelham (3-2, 3-2) up, 28-0.

It was Martin and the Panthers that couldn’t capitalize on long drives in the first half. Crawford III intercepted Martin in the end zone on the first drive of the game and Dalton McManus intercepted a tipped ball with Pelham driving in the second quarter. On Pelham’s first touchdown drive, Martin threw to senior tight end Patrick Sherer on second-and-goal from the 4. The pass fell incomplete but Homewood fans near the left corner of the end zone screamed for an offensive pass interference as Sherer shoved a Patriot defender trying to get position. Junior Ryan Williams followed a wall of blockers for a 4-yard touchdown the next play to give Pelham a 7-0 lead with 11:26 left in the second quarter.

Pelham head coach Brett Burnett said team practiced well this past week, and Holland agreed that was key.

“I think we pulled together in practice. We basically just said we’ve got to get together as a team and turn the losses around. We were having a lot more fun, and I think that really carried to the game,” Holland said.

Receiver Cameron Broadnax played productively for Homewood, catching eight passes for 68 yards. Five of Broadnax’s receptions happened on Homewood’s last drive of the second quarter, moving the Patriots to first-and-goal at the 9. Broadnax tapped his chest with his palms, gesturing to his coaching staff to get him the ball, but Powell instead threw to Donald Williams III behind the line of scrimmage on third-and-goal as Broadnax watched from the sidelines. Homewood lined up for a field goal but Hines III tackled the holder after a bad snap.

“I think we’re growing as a team and tonight, the score finally showed that,” Burnett said. “The last two weeks we’ve turned it over eight times and tonight it went the other way.”