Pelham loses big at Homewood

Published 2:09 am Saturday, September 5, 2015

Griffin Rivers looks to pass downfield during Pelham's 54-20 loss at Homewood on Sept. 4. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

Griffin Rivers looks to pass downfield during Pelham’s 52-20 loss at Homewood on Sept. 4. (For the Reporter / Dawn Harrison)

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

HOMEWOOD – Both teams that met at Waldrop Stadium on Sept. 4 were coming off big losses to bigger schools, hoping to turn the first part of their seasons around. Homewood was coming off a bad loss to Vestavia Hills by a final of 41-7 while Pelham was coming off an equally tough loss to in-county rival Thompson 43-13. Unfortunately for the Panthers on this night, their losing ways continued against the Patriots, and Pelham lost its first region game by a final of 52-20.

From the jump, this was not Pelham’s night. After taking the opening kick and promptly going three and out, punter Jose Jimenez-Lopez couldn’t handle a bad snap, but made the most of a tough situation and brought the ball out to his own 30 yard line as opposed to the goal line, where the snap ended up. Homewood took the gift and turned it into seven points via a Carson Griffis touchdown throw to a wide open Alec Marsch to give the Patriots an early lead, and the tone for the game was set.

The Panthers offense did nothing noteworthy in the first quarter, and the defense had a seemingly impossible time trying to stop the Patriot offense, in particular running back Derrick Underwood, who seemed to never go down on first contact, and gained a minimum of five yards a touch. Heading into the second quarter Homewood led 21-0 thanks to two more first quarter touchdowns from Underwood, one of which was a 72-yard scamper where he went untouched..

The second play of the second quarter, Pelham showed some life. Quarterback Griffin Rivers found a streaking James Reed, who got behind the defense as the two executed a nice pitch and catch for a 59-yard touchdown pass to bring the score back to 21-6 after Jimenez-Lopez pulled the extra point wide right.

After exchanging a few punts, Griffis found Fred Williams for another score, and Homewood led 27-6 at the half.

After Pelham held Homewood to start the third quarter, John Michael Long bobbled the punt, giving the ball back to the Patriots on the Panther’s 12 yard line, and Homewood promptly scored again. Giovanny Aidan added the cap on a nice Pelham drive at the end of the third quarter, and a reception from Reed brought the score back to 47-14.

In the fourth, backup quarterback Matthew Rye found Brandon Sledge in the back of the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown reception, and the game ended 54-20 as Pelham dropped to 0-2.

“They got a good start, we got a slow start,” Pelham head coach Tom Causey said after the game. “We gave up too many early scores, the bad snap, giving them a short field. I give them credit, they kept doing what they had to do.”

Moving forward, Causey did say he feels like there were some positive moments, but overall his squad has to improve across the board.

“I think we got something going there, with the deep ball obviously. But we had one or two breakdowns just about every play. We’ve got to get more consistent in how we play. That’s on me, that’s not on any of these kids or our staff, that’s on me. We’ve got to get better at every phase.”