Panthers claim Border War trophy
By WESLEY HALLMAN / Sports Editor
PELHAM — Members of the Pelham High School boys’ soccer team wasted no time possessing their prize moments after capturing the Border War trophy for the fourth time following a 4-3 win over rival Thompson in an Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A, Section 6 contest April 13.
Within seconds of the final horn, the Panthers claimed the coveted trophy and darted toward the home crowd on the traditional post-game jog across the field on a cool evening.
Pelham coach Patrick McDonald said other games on the Panthers’ schedule each season may carry more weight, but no match brings out more intensity in his players than the annual Border War match.
“It’s the one match they look forward to the most,” McDonald said. “Nothing gets better than playing a rival. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Senior Diego Lopez led the Panthers with three goals in the victory.
“He’s our do everything guy,” McDonald said.
Lopez gave the Panthers an early 1-0 lead on a goal assisted by Ryan Tapley.
Thompson evened the score at 1-1 following a goal by Jacob Ramsey, which was assisted by Drew Mizell.
Lopez added his second goal minutes later to give the Panthers a 2-1 advantage. Austin Bowen headed in a corner kick by Tucker Thomas to push Pelham’s lead to 3-1.
Thompson cut the deficit to 3-2 following a goal by Jacob Marasckin, which was assisted by Ramsey.
Lopez added another goal late in the first half to cap the scoring for the Panthers.
Ramsey added a goal in the second half, which was assisted by Juan Jerez, to cut the deficit to 4-3, but the Warriors couldn’t net the equalizer down the stretch.
Pelham goalkeeper Cameron Foss finished with nine saves in the victory. Thompson goalkeeper Sam Posey recorded 10 saves.
The victory over the Warriors keeps Pelham in the hunt for the Class 6A, Section 6 title. The Panthers need a win over Tuscaloosa County early next week to set up a section championship match April 20 against Hoover.