Panthers trample Stampede

Pelham’s Eli Beall sprints away from Paul Bryant High School defenders during the Panthers' 35-14 season-opening win over the Stampede. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor 

The Pelham Panthers rode a punishing ground attack to a 35-14 season-opening victory over Class 5A opponent Paul Bryant High School in Cottondale on Aug. 31.

“That was a great way to start the year,” said PHS head coach Brett Burnett. “We had a hard time finishing drives in the first half, but the second half they played well.”

The Panthers racked up 389 rushing yards on 55 carries, and completed one pass for 22 yards.

Pelham scored on its first drive of the night on a 24-yard run by Jacob Nichols. Austin Bowen’s PAT gave the Panthers a 7-0 lead.

After both teams traded fumbles, Pelham missed a 37-yard field goal.

However, the Panthers extended their lead on the next possession, when Devon Mines reeled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Tanner Adams. Bowen’s PAT gave Pelham a 14-0 lead late in the second quarter.

The Stampede put up its first points of the night with a touchdown with less than a minute in the first half.

On its first possession of the third quarter, Pelham scored on a 31-yard run by Fletcher Johnson. Bowen’s extra point put the game at 21-7.

The Panthers extended their lead early in the fourth quarter when Tyler Brasfield ran it into the end zone from 5 yards out.

After Paul Bryant scored on its ensuing possession, the Stampede failed to convert an onside kick, giving the Panthers the ball on the Paul Bryant 48-yard-line.

After the Panthers drove to the 4-yard line, Sophomore Tyler White punched the ball into the end zone. Bowen’s extra point gave Pelham a 35-14 lead with 2:33 left in the game.

Pelham will travel to Stanhope Elmore on Sept. 7 for its first region game of the season.

“They (Stanhope Elmore) look like a pretty good team,” Burnett said. “We’ve got to get some things buttoned up this week.”