Panthers pound Wildcats in preseason game

Despite heavy downpours, the Pelham Panthers started the 2009 season off with a bang Thursday, downing the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats 17-6 in a preseason game.

In the three-quarter game, the Panthers’ defense held the Wildcats scoreless until 3:38 remaining, while also using big plays from the running game to secure the win.

It took the first quarter for both teams to get used to the weather, as both the Panthers and Wildcats fumbled away a possession.

In the second quarter, the Wildcats controlled the clock and march down the field into the red zone, but Nigel Terrell blocked a field goal to keep Tuscaloosa County off the board.

After trading possessions, the Panthers finally cracked the end zone with just minutes remaining in the half on a 53-yard run by Dominique Harris.

The Pelham defense held strong on the Wildcats’ ensuing possession, and got three more points before the half on a 41-yard field goal by Cameron Haynes.

Just the like the first half, the Panthers’ defense came out in the second half and held the Wildcats to a three-and-out before striking the end zone again on a 55-yard run by Harris to increase the lead to 17-0.

The Wildcats finally stuck it in the end zone on a quarterback sneak, but the damage had already been done.

Offensively for Pelham, Harris had 103 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns, while also pulling down three catches for 49 yards.

Quarterback Tripp Martin was 7-of-12 for 78 yards.

Defensively for the Panthers, linebacker Jake Holland had a game-high 15 tackles. Holland also finished with one sack and one pass break-up.

Derek Slaughter was next for the Panthers, finishing with 11 tackles, two tackles for a loss and one forced fumble. Terrell finished with five tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss, one pass break-up and two blocked kicks.

The Panthers will begin the regular season Aug. 28 at home against Oak Mountain. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.