One and done: Jess Lanier ousts Pelham in first round

The Pelham Panthers’ bid to be the final team to win in the historic Snitz Snider Memorial Stadium fell short as the Jess Lanier Tigers live to play another home game following Friday night’s 10-3 Class 6A first-round playoff victory.

Pelham quarterback Gray Cato, who filled in for the third consecutive game for the injured Tripp Martin, was intercepted two times with less than five minutes to play in the game to stifle any chance of a Panther comeback.

In addition to the two interceptions, the Panthers (3-8) turned the ball over once on downs and punted five times in the game.

“We couldn’t move the ball offensively,” Pelham head coach Brett Burnett said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do on that side of the ball.”

Neither team could get much going in the first quarter, as both teams failed to put any points on the board.

The Purple Tigers would strike first in the second quarter when Judah Fuller connected with Jervohnte Riles in the back of the end zone to go up 7-0 following Justin Rogers’ extra-point kick.

The Panthers struck right back on a 31-yard Cameron Haynes’ field goal, and the Pelham defense gave the offense one more shot following an Andrew Hayes interception, but the drive stalled and the Panthers were forced to punt.

The third quarter was much like the first as neither team put any points on the board, but Jess Lanier would add one more score on a 19-yard Rogers field goal to seal the win. Despite a crazy season that saw the Panthers slip into the playoffs as a result of the week 4 win over Vestavia Hills to break a five-way tie, Burnett said this year’s seniors did a lot for the program and they will be missed.

“These seniors have been great,” Burnett said. “It’s sad to see their senior year end like this.”