Pelham routs Oak Mountain, moves to 4-2

Published 11:23 pm Friday, September 28, 2018

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

PELHAM – Coming into the Sept. 28 matchup with Class 7A Oak Mountain, Pelham High School head coach Tom Causey admitted he was nervous after seeing the Eagles’ explosiveness on offense earlier in the year.

“Their offense and their quarterback, scared me to death,” Causey said. “They’re unbelievably explosive, and they’ve had some big plays against some really good people. I’m proud of our defensive line for the way they played.”

Pelham’s defense found a way to limit the Eagles’ potent offense while displaying some offensive fireworks of their own, as they scored early and often to take a 52-21 victory over their cross-county rivals. It marked the first meeting between the two teams since 2013.

“I thought we had a great plan, but obviously we didn’t,” Oak Mountain head coach Cris Bell said. “I think part of the problem is the thought that we can just show up, but we can’t, and that’s my fault for allowing us to think that. Coach Causey and his guys did a heck of a job. We got outcoached and outplayed.”

Pelham (4-2, 1-2 in Class 6A, Region 5) rode to victory over the Eagles (1-4, 0-3 in Class 7A, Region 3) on the legs of running back Dylan Peterson, who ended the night with 15 carries for 134 yards and four touchdowns.

“I think he’s got confidence in the offensive line. He’s getting better and better and better at his tracks,” Causey said of Peterson. “It’s the little things that make him a lot better player. He’s worked really hard the past two weeks. He’s a really good football player, and he’s got a chance to be even better. Stay humble, stay hungry and keep working the way he’s working right now, and he will be.”

Pelham used a ground-heavy attack to cruise to victory. Quarterback Xavier Lankford carried the ball 11 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns, Brandon sledge carried the ball seven times for 71 yards and had a 90-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and Jalen Cook racked up 67 yards on six carries.

Ryan Jewel led the PHS defense with 12 tackles, followed by Brock Higdon with five tackles. Pelham kicker Greg Blue had five touchbacks, was 5-for-5 on extra points and connected on a 22-yard field goal.

Oak Mountain quarterback Evan Smith connected on 8-of-13 passing attempts for 78 yards and a touchdown, and also added 70 yards on the ground on 19 carries. Luke Percer racked up 131 yards on seven carries.

Noah Young reeled in three passes for 39 yards and a touchdown for OMHS, and Jacob Fitzgerald led the Eagles’ defense with 11 tackles, followed by Dylan Hoye with eight tackles.

Pelham will travel to Carver-Birmingham on Saturday, Oct. 6, and Oak Mountain will host Mountain Brook on Thursday, Oct. 4.