Pelham offense sputters in loss to Homewood to open region play

Published 11:20 pm Friday, September 7, 2018

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

HOMEWOOD – After scoring a combined 87 points in two wins over Calera and Bibb County to open the season, Pelham’s offense was shut down against Homewood as the Patriots took care of business at home winning 27-7 on Friday, Sept. 7, to open Class 6A Region 5 play.

Homewood established good field position right away after a drive that ended at Pelham’s 40-yard to open the game. The Panthers forced a punt but took over at their own 5-yard line after the change of possession.

Pelham went three-and-out on its first offensive possession and after a punt deep in their own territory, Homewood took over at the Panthers 44-yard line.

The Patriots took advantage of the good field position as quarterback Larkin Williams threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Marcus McGhee over the middle to put Homewood up 7-0 late in the first quarter.

A big shift in momentum came early in the second quarter as Homewood’s defense forced a fumble that they recovered at the Pelham 17-yard line.

A few plays later, Homewood running back Keonte Davis ran it in from one yard out on third-and-goal to put the Patriots up 14-0.

After another failed drive, Pelham’s defense kept Homewood out of the end zone this time, but kicker Lane Gilchrist made a 34-yard field goal to extend the lead to 17-0 with 2:58 until halftime.

After shuffling between quarterbacks Matthew Rye and Xavier Lankford in the first half, Pelham found no success with either under center as Gilchrist nailed another 34-yard field with seconds left to give Homewood a 20-0 halftime lead.

Turnovers would be a problem for Pelham into the second half as the Panthers muffed a punt deep in their own territory that the Patriots recovered at the Pelham 15-yard line with 8:08 to go in the third quarter.

Just like the first half, Homewood capitalized on the turnover as Williams tossed his second touchdown of the game to McGhee, this time from 18-yards out on a post route to extend the lead to 27-0.

The offensive woes continued for Pelham into the fourth quarter as the Lankford fumbled an exchange that was recovered by Homewood.

After looking like the Patriots would get the shutout, Pelham finally got on the board with 3:36 to go in the game as Rye completed a pass to wide receiver Edward Gipson who reversed field and followed blockers for a 39-yard touchdown that brought the final to 27-7.

Rye finished the game 2-of-7 passing for 44 yards and one touchdown. He also had eight rushes for 28 yards.

After the game, Pelham head coach Tom Causey said he took responsibility for the offense not being ready as the defense was forced to stay on the field for too long.

“Give Homewood all the credit and like I told them, I just didn’t have us ready to go tonight on offense,” Causey said. “I thought our defense played well enough to win because they were on a short field most of the game. I think we had 17 snaps on offense in the first half and our defense was on the field way too long. All night long they were getting stops and there was a couple of big third down conversions we gave up, but I think that’s because our defense was on the field too long. That’s totally on me and I didn’t have us ready to play but we’ll come back next week ready to go.”

Pelham fell to 2-1 and 0-1 in region play but will attempt to turn things around in the home opener against region foe Minor on Friday, Sept. 14.