PHS falls in first game of season

Pelham wide receiver Edward Gipson (23) battles for the ball amidst Homewood defenders during the Panthers’ 21-14 loss to Homewood on Aug. 18. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Pelham wide receiver Edward Gipson (23) battles for the ball amidst Homewood defenders during the Panthers’ 21-14 loss to Homewood on Aug. 18. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

HOMEWOOD – Second-year Pelham High School head coach Tom Causey saw plenty of improvement from last year’s 1-9 record during the Panthers’ season opener on Aug. 18, but he was clear about the kind of football he expects from the Panthers.

“We’re not looking for 21-14 moral victories. We’re looking for wins. The kids work to hard to have moral victories,” Causey said after his squad fell to the Homewood Patriots in the first Milo’s Breakfast Kickoff game at Samford University. “We had way too many mistakes, way too many penalties, and it cost us the ballgame. We had two touchdowns called back tonight, we missed a couple field goals and had a couple of turnovers, and those were huge.

“I’m very proud of their effort, I don’t want that to be misled in any way,” Causey added. “But we’ve got a football team that should have won tonight.”

Pelham’s Jon Drake (44) carries the ball after scooping it up during the Panthers’ 21-14 loss to Homewood on Aug. 18. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Pelham’s Jon Drake (44) carries the ball after scooping it up during the Panthers’ 21-14 loss to Homewood on Aug. 18. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

The Panthers were unable to hold onto a 14-0 lead they built late in the third quarter.

After a scoreless first quarter, and after Pelham missed two field goals and Homewood missed one, Pelham junior defensive back Ladre Tabb intercepted Homewood at the Patriots’ 16-yard line. A few plays later, Pelham’s Derrick Bush powered the ball into the end zone from 2 yards out. Placekicker Jose Jiminez’ extra point put the Panthers ahead 7-0 with 1:40 left in the first quarter.

Pelham struck again late in the third quarter when quarterback Matthew Rye connected with wide receiver Edward Gipson for a 15-yard touchdown strike. Jiminez’ PAT gave the Panthers a 14-0 lead with 1:47 left in the third quarter.

Homewood answered on the next series, capping its drive with a 25-yard touchdown run to cut the Panthers’ lead to 14-7.

On the Panthers’ next series, a fumbled punt snap put the Patriots to work deep in Panther territory, leading to a 1-yard rushing touchdown for Homewood, tying the game at 14-all.

On the Panthers’ next drive, an illegal receiver downfield penalty negated a 32-yard pass from Pelham quarterback Elisha Hudson to Gipson, which would have given Pelham the ball at the Homewood 1-yard line.

After Pelham turned the ball over on downs, Homewood marched 56 yards to the end zone, capped of by a 2-yard rushing touchdown with 1:10 left in the game.

Hudson finished the game 1-of-8 for 2 yards, and rushed five times for 39 yards. Rye completed 2-of-5 passing attempts for 25 yards and a touchdown, and rushed 10 times for 35 yards.

Nicholas Blackburn led the Panther rushing attack, gaining 112 yards on 20 carries.

Defensively for Pelham, Jon Drake recorded 11 tackles and Ryan Jewell recorded nine tackles. Tabb and Patrick Durr each recorded interceptions.