Pell City scores 13-unanswered to down Calera

By ALFRED KOJIMA | For the Reporter

CALERA – Senior quarterback Mitchell Gossett tossed for three touchdowns and had two key passes on the final scoring drive in the fourth quarter to help Pell City rally for a 27-21 victory over Calera on Friday, Aug. 30.

With two key third down conversions on their final drive, the Eagles managed to advance the ball to midfield. Unfortunately, two self-inflicted unsportsmanlike penalties pushed the ball back to their own 20-yard line with just over three minutes remaining.

Calera then forced a fourth-and-1 at the 44-yard line defensively, but Gossett was able to connect with senior Brett Staples for a 14-yard play and first down. The Panthers ran two final plays to end the game.

“We played hard, we played with good effort and at times we played very well, Eagles’ head coach Tre Simpson said. “We had a shot late, but self-inflicting penalties flipped the field for them and we were not able to get the stop when we needed it.”

The game started off well for the Eagles.

Senior Dylan Killingsworth collected the opening kickoff and returned the ball to the Pell City 47-yard line. Senior quarterback Quin’Darius Crews ran all the way to the end zone in one play for a quick 47-yard touchdown run. Junior kicker Jordan Helm kicked the extra point for a 7-0 lead.

The Panthers responded on the ensuing drive, putting together an eight-play, 80-yard drive. Gossett found fellow senior receiver Ian Crow from 15 yards out. The extra point tied the game at 7-7.

Pell City pulled ahead three minutes into the second quarter on an 11-play, 66-yard drive. Gossett had his second touchdown pass of the half, this time to sophomore wide receiver Kentrell Borden for a 14-7 lead.

It was the Eagles that responded this time, with an eight-play, 60-yard drive. A 6-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Christopher Cotton-Taylor with five minutes remaining tied the game at 14-14.

Just before halftime, the Panthers had the ball deep in their own end. A long pass was intercepted by senior De’Javius Williams and returned to the 3-yard line. Two plays later, Crews found sophomore Kobe Prentice for the go-ahead score and a 21-14 lead at the half.

For the second consecutive week, Calera managed to build a lead in the first half, but were kept off the scoreboard in the second half.

The Panthers took the second half kickoff and finished an eight-play, 75-yard drive with a 46-yard TD toss from Gossett to Crow. With the extra point, the game was tied at 21-21.

In the fourth quarter, the Panthers had the game-winning eight-play, 49-yard drive. Junior running back Matthew Frey closed out the scoring with a 2-yard TD run to pick up the 27-21 victory.

Calera (1-1) will host Wetumpka in its first region game of 2019 on Friday, Sept. 6.