Pelham football ready for new region
By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor
The Pelham High School football team will face some challenges it hasn’t dealt with in several years during the upcoming season, head coach Brett Burnett said after his team took down the Minor Tigers 7-6 in a spring game on May 15.
“We got a chance to see some people play both ways – something we are going to have to do in the future,” Burnett said. “A couple of kids didn’t come off the field. They’ve just got to get used to that, because that’s the way it’s going to be for the situation we’re in.”
The 2014 season will mark the Panthers’ first after the upcoming PHS-Helena High School split depletes the PHS student body and football roster. As a result, Pelham will face a new region of Class 6A opponents next fall as many of its traditional area rivals will move up into the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s new Class 7A.
This fall, Pelham will play in a region composed of Briarwood, Homewood, Hueytown, Jackson-Olin, John Carroll, Minor and Walker County.
“We’ve played a lot of those teams at least once or twice over the years,” Burnett said. “We’ve got to take care of us and be the best we can be. It’s a new challenge, it’s a very competitive region.”
The Panthers got a preview of one of its upcoming region opponents during the spring game, which quickly turned into a defensive struggle.
Pelham’s lone score came late in the second quarter when R.J. McCall reeled in a 40-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Logan Burnett. Austin Bowen’s successful PAT proved to be the difference in the game.
Minor drove as far as the Panthers’ 1-yard line midway through the third quarter, but Pelham’s defense held the Tigers on fourth down to keep them out of the endzone.
A Pelham fumble early in the fourth quarter set the Tigers up to score on a 9-yard touchdown run, but Pelham stopped Minor’s two-point conversion attempt.
Pelham’s Malik Copeland – who left the game with an arm injury in the fourth quarter – Whit Wood and Chase Shearer all recorded sacks in the win.