Pelham dominates Thompson

Published 9:43 am Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Game Ball is going back to Pelham.

The Pelham Panthers (4-2, 4-2) opened a 20-0 lead in the first half and then increased it to 41-0 by the end of the game to take the victory over the Thompson Warriors (2-4, 1-4).

Following the game, the Pelham players surprised Mayor Bobby Hayes with a Gatorade shower. The players then carried the mayor off the field on their shoulders as Hayes ends his tenure in office in November.

“Our kids laid it on the line for him,” Pelham head coach Brett Burnett said.

Hayes struggled to find the words of how much the tribute meant to him.

“It’s pretty (darn) special,” Hayes said as he fought back tears. “This has always been special to Judy and I.”

The Panthers used an effective passing game to down the Warriors in one of the largest margin wins in the series’ history.

Despite three fumbles on the exchange from quarterback to running back in the first half, Pelham opened a 9-0 lead in the first quarter on a 36-yard Dan Jackson field goal and a 9-yard touchdown pass from Tripp Martin to Shawn Lynch.

The second quarter looked just like the first quarter as Jackson nailed a 26-yard field goal and Martin connected with Lynch on a 12-yard touchdown pass.

In the third quarter, Jackson’s third field goal attempt was blocked by Antonio Jones, but Jackson saved the Panthers from giving up a touchdown by tackling Jones on the return.

Lynch added his third touchdown on a 16-yard pass from Martin after setting up the score with a long punt return.

The Panthers closed out the night’s scoring with a Martin quarterback sneak in the fourth quarter.

The Panthers have struggled all season stopping the run, with opposing teams averaging more than 200 yards a game on the ground, but Pelham stopped the Warriors for just 36 yards on the ground, including -20 in the first quarter. The Warriors finished with just 154 total yards.

“We tried several different looks on them, but we just got behind,” Thompson head coach Brian Maner said.

Burnett said his team was finally finding its identity.

“We’re staring to figure some things out, defensively,” Burnett said.

The Warriors’ rushing attack was also limited after leading rusher Sideeq Cooper was dismissed from the team earlier this week for undisclosed reasons, according to Maner.

Offensively for Pelham, Martin was 11-of-22 for 178 yards and four touchdowns through the air, while also rushing for one. Lynch had four catches for 77 yards and three touchdowns.

Defensively for the Pelham, Jake Holland had 10 tackles and a fumble recovery, while Dexter Paschal had six tackles and a sack.

The Warriors play host to Homewood for homecoming Friday. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m., while the homecoming queen being crowed prior to the game.