Panthers take down Wildcats

Published 10:45 pm Friday, August 24, 2012

Pelham High School senior Eli Beall breaks away from a Tuscaloosa County High School defender during an Aug. 24 jamboree in Northport. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

 By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Panthers warmed up for the upcoming season on Aug. 24 by taking down the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats 21-14 during a preseason jamboree in Northport.

The Panthers recorded 268 total yards of offense during the game, during which many of the team’s younger players saw time on the field during the second half.

PHS head coach Brett Burnett said he liked the effort the team showed, but said early mistakes cost Pelham scoring opportunities.

“We left too many points on the field. You get five or six opportunities to score in a game, and you have to take advantage of them when you get a chance,” Burnett said, noting Tuscaloosa County has a “good program.” “They got a good game in, and we will build on it and get ready for next week.”

Pelham was forced to punt it away on its first possession, giving the Wildcats a chance to score on a 12-yard pass and bring the game to 7-0.

An apparent Pelham touchdown on a 44-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Hunter Stovall to Kenny Meadows was called back on a penalty during the next series, later causing the Panthers to turn the ball over on downs.

Tuscaloosa County extended its lead to 14-0 on an 18-yard pass to start the second quarter.

On the Panthers’ next possession, Meadows reeled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tanner Adams. Austin Bowen added the extra point to narrow the Wildcats’ lead to 14-7.

After forcing Tuscaloosa County to punt, Pelham scored again when sophomore running back Moregan Sharp broke several tackles during a 52-yard touchdown run. Bowen’s extra point tied the game at 14-all.

After a scoreless third quarter, linebacker Grant Wadsworth wrestled away a pass from a Tuscaloosa County receiver to give Pelham the ball on the Wildcats’ 20-yard line. The Panthers then scored on a 2-yard run by Robert Hayes. Bowen’s extra point gave Pelham the lead for good.

The Panthers will travel to Tuscaloosa to take on Paul Bryant High School on July 31 during both teams’ regular-season opener.