Eye of the Tiger wins big over Panthers

Published 10:39 pm Friday, October 23, 2015

Pelham’s Jalen Smith ,2, Edward Gipson, 30, and Jon Drake, 44, shutdown a gain by Minor’s Jaylond Adams. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

Pelham’s Jalen Smith ,2, Edward Gipson, 30, and Jon Drake, 44, shutdown a gain by Minor’s Jaylond Adams. (Reporter photo / Jessa Pease)

By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer

PELHAM— Pelham’s offense had another tough night against the Minor High School Tigers Oct. 23. Penalties, multiple turnovers and the Tigers’ powerful offense led to Minor overpowering the Panthers 41-14.

“We gave up two big plays early in the game. In the middle of the game there, I thought our defense played well enough to win,” said Pelham head coach Tom Causey. “We had too many turnovers against a team that is way too talented. We had too many penalties. Down here in the red zone we had opportunities to score and when you are playing a team the caliber of Minor, you can’t make those mistakes in those opportunities.”

The first play of the game set the pace, when Dre’Quan Pritchett connected with Delonte’ Evans for an 80-yard touchdown reception. The touchdown put six points on the board in less than 15 seconds.

Minutes later, Evans produced another impressive touchdown of 68 yards. The series of plays gave Minor a 13-0 lead early in the first.

Pelham was able to answer with seconds left in the first quarter with a 99-yard pick six by senior Jalen Smith. Panther defense was able to hold Minor for the rest of the quarter, ending the first half with Pelham trailing the Tigers 13-7.

Leading Pelham’s defense was Jon Drake with 11 tackles for the night. The senior linebacker is 10 tackles away from breaking the school’s record. Conner Christian and John-Michael Long each had nine tackles.

Pelham came out strong in the second half with an impressive 71-yard touchdown by quarterback Griffin Rivers, giving Pelham a 14-13 lead.

Rivers passed 5 for 12 and 43 yards. Alongside Rivers, Nicholas Blackburn had 12 rushes for 30 yards, Giovanny Aidan had 13 for 51 yards and Kasey Clark had two catches for 34 yards.

The Panthers only sustained the lead for one drive and Minor went on to score another touchdown with a series of plays by Dominic Ellis.

After multiple fumbles and an attempted field goal by Pelham, the Tigers gained possession of the ball on Pelham’s 20-yard line. They punched the ball in for another touchdown. They finished the third leading the Panthers 27-14.

Pelham lost possession of the ball on it’s own 2-yard line, giving Minor an easy seven points with 10:34 left in the fourth. Almost immediately, the Tigers recovered Pelham’s kick off, allowing Jaylond Adams to score.

The game ended with Pelham trailing Minor 41-14.

“I thought we had guys who played hard most of the night, and we’ve got to keep fighting until we learn how to win when we have opportunities,” Causey said. “We didn’t do that tonight, and that’s on me.”