Teams ready for the challenge

Published 11:08 am Tuesday, September 3, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

It’s a cliché we all hear every year, but I honestly believe it more now than I ever have before: I can’t believe it’s already high school football season again.

We all got a chance to see the Pelham Panthers and Thompson Warriors in action last Friday night during both schools’ preseason jamborees, and I think both fan bases have reason to be optimistic heading into the season.

I got a firsthand chance to see the Panthers take the field last Friday night as they battled Tuscaloosa County in Northport.

To be honest, I like many Panther fans, wasn’t really sure what to expect after losing so many key players after last season’s successful streak, but I was pleasantly surprised to see Pelham already gelling at such an early stage.

Tuscaloosa County was being billed as one of the top teams in the state preseason rankings, and Pelham showed what I thought was an incredible defensive effort in its 10-7 victory over the Wildcats.

While jamboree night didn’t end in the Warriors’ favor in on the scoreboard, I think Thompson fans have plenty of reasons to be optimistic this season. Also showing a solid defensive effort, the Warriors came up just short in a 13-6 loss to Pell City.

Of note is Pell City’s run to the second round of the Class 6A playoffs last year, which makes Thompson’s showing look even more impressive.

The talent is certainly there on the Warriors’ roster, and second-year head coach Mike Montgomery seems to have Thompson headed in the right direction.

I know it’s hard to truly gauge a team based on its performance during a jamboree scrimmage, but the Panthers and Warriors are showing some great promise heading into the season.

Both teams opened up with Class 5A opponents for the first game of the season on Aug. 30, and will begin region play next Friday, Sept. 6.

No matter what the record books say at the end of the season, I am always proud of all high school athletes who suit up in Shelby County.

Neal Wagner is the city editor for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at