Rockets launch over Pelham
Published 10:25 pm Friday, October 30, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
GARDENDALE— After a big loss to the Gardendale Rockets Oct. 30, the Pelham Panthers finished the season with a 1-9 overall record. Panther offense was unable to score over the Rockets’ booming defense, resulting in a 61-12loss for Pelham.
Leading offensively was Pelham’s quarterback Griffin Rivers, who passed 12 for 27 for 95 yards. In his nine rushes, Rivers gained 17 yards and scored one touchdown.
Nicholas Blackburn led the team with 109 yards rushing, followed by Giovanny Aidan who rushed for 50. John Michael Long had four catches for 43 yards.
Gardendale came out strong, scoring a touchdown in its first drive of the game. A series of gains by DreQua Houston allowed him to punch the ball in from the 3-yard line with 9:32 left in the first.
Despite a few fumbles by the Rockets, giving Pelham favorable field position, Gardendale was next to score again with 3:06 in the first. Tye Dunklin ran the ball for an 18-yard touchdown that was nearly taken down by Pelham’s Connor Hammond.
The Rockets lead the Panthers 14-0 going into the second quarter. Impressive gains by Demetrius King and Houston allowed Houston to score the third touchdown of the night. Panther defense was able to hold Gardendale to 21 points until the second half of the game.
Jon Drake, who had 12 tackles for the night, beat Pelham High Schools tackling record and led the team’s defense against the Rockets. Rodney Pettway and Connor Christian were also defensive forces with 11 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Minutes into the third, Reagan Padgett scored a 10-yard touchdown with 8:04 left in the game. Gardendale continued to rocket over Pelham with a 10-yard gain by Omari Burton and a 38-yard catch by Clay Cox.
Michael Crowder punched the ball in for Gardendale’s fifth touchdown of the night, making the score 35-0. But the Panthers would not go down so easily.
After being forced to punt, kicker Jose Jimenez Lopez faked and ran the ball, gaining 22 yards for the Panthers and a first down. Gains by Rivers, Aidan, Cody Verner and Elisha Hudson allowed Rivers to run the ball in for a 10-yard touchdown.
The Panthers put six points on the board to end the third quarter.
Gardendale answered with a 51-yard gain by Douglas Moore, resulting in an additional seven points with eight minutes left in the game. Soon after, Burton scored another touchdown, making the score 55-6.
With 20 seconds left on the clock, Blackburn put the ball in place with a 26-yard gain into the red zone, and two plays later scored Pelham’s second touchdown for the night, although they were unable to score on the two-point conversion.
With the score 55-12 and only seconds left in the game, Pelham kicked to the Rockets who were able to return the ball for the final touchdown of the game. The Rockets ended the game 61-12.