Panthers fall in region opener

Pelham’s Eli Beall is brought down by Stanhope-Elmore defenders during the Panthers' 28-14 loss Sept. 7 in Millbrook. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

 By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

The Pelham Panthers fell to the Stanhope Elmore Mustangs 28-14 in Millbrook on Sept. 7 to start play in Class 6A Region 4.

The Panthers (1-1, 0-1 in Region 4) recorded 253 total yards of offense, and senior quarterback Tanner Adams connected on seven of 13 passing attempts for 106 yards.

“We just left too much on the field on offense,” said PHS head coach Brett Burnett. “We had a couple of good drives but we failed to execute.

“You’ve got to credit Stanhope Elmore. That was a good football team,” Burnett added. “We’ve got to get better and continue to improve.”

The Mustangs lit up the scoreboard first, connecting on a 25-yard field goal late in the first quarter to take a 3-0 lead.

Stanhope Elmore extended their lead to 9-0 on their first drive of the second quarter on a 20-yard touchdown run, but failed to convert the extra point.

Pelham cut into the Mustangs’ lead on their ensuing possession when Adams ran the ball in from 3 yards out. Austin Bowen’s extra point brought the game to 9-7.

After the Mustangs missed a 31-yard field goal attempt a few seconds before halftime, Stanhope Elmore extended their lead to 15-9 on a 5-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter. The Mustangs again missed the PAT attempt.

After Pelham drove to the Mustangs’ 8-yard line on the ensuing possession, Stanhope Elmore recovered a Pelham fumble on the Mustangs’ 14-yard line.

The fumble recovery led to a Mustang 3-yard touchdown run and successful PAT, bringing the game to 22-7.

“We had a chance to tie it if we went for the two-point conversion,” Burnett said. “You can’t make mistakes like that against a good team.”

The Panthers cut the Mustangs’ lead two possessions later when Eli Beall scored on a 9-yard touchdown run. Bowen’s extra point brought the game to 22-14.

However, the Panthers failed to recover an onside kick attempt, eventually setting up a 30-yard Stanhope Elmore touchdown run to bring the game to 28-14.

The Panthers will host their first home game of the season on Sept. 14 when they face cross-town rival Thompson High School.