Tough first quarter, turnovers doom Pelham in loss to Homewood

By GRAHAM BROOKS / Staff Writer

PELHAM – Pelham couldn’t overcome five turnovers and dug itself into a big first quarter deficit before eventually falling to Homewood 42-21 in the first region game of the year on Friday, Sept. 6, as the Panthers dropped to 0-3 on the season.

Pelham’s turnover troubles included two fumbles, a muffed punt, a blocked punt returned for a touchdown and an interception as Homewood took advantage of all the Panthers’ miscues.

“We played some young guys and the game got fast right there and we had some mistakes and it turned into two big plays so credit Homewood,” Pelham head coach Tom Causey said. “They took advantage of the plays they needed to make and our guys fought back right there. It’s a two-score game at halftime and we fake the punt and our guys do a fantastic job of getting the first down and it just stalled out. We’ll get there, we’ve got some high character kids on our football team that will continue to work and get better.”

Pelham got off to a rough start almost immediately as Homewood threw a 71-yard touchdown pass on the second play of the game to jump out to a 7-0 lead.

On Pelham’s first drive of the game, the Panthers fumbled and lost possession on a pitch play that Homewood recovered at Pelham’s 36-yard line.

Homewood capitalized on the turnover as they scored on the first play with a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Patriots then faked the extra point and successfully converted the two-point conversion to take a 15-0 lead less that two minutes into the game.

Pelham was forced to punt after a three-and-out on its next possession. Homewood got the ball back at Pelham’s 45-yard line and once again hit the Pelham defense with a big play. Homewood quarterback Pate Owen found wide receiver Trae Ausmer for a 37-yard touchdown pass to jump out to a 22-0 lead with 8:11 left in the first quarter.

Pelham’s final mistake in the first quarter came on a muffed punt that Homewood recovered at Pelham’s 16-yard line. Homewood scored another touchdown off of Pelham turnover, this time on a quarterback keeper for 20 yards to make it 29-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Pelham finally got on the scoreboard when quarterback Xavier Lankford threw an 8-yard pass to JD Wilkins to make it 29-7.

Pelham’s defense played better in the second quarter, allowing just one field goal at the 4:40 mark as Homewood went up 32-7.

Pelham scored another touchdown late in the first half as Lankford converted a fourth-and-2 as he threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Darius Copeland. Pelham’s extra point was blocked, however, as the Panthers trailed 32-13 at halftime.

Pelham got the ball to start the third quarter and got some momentum as the Panthers successfully converted a fourth-and-1 fake punt that gained 35 yards into Homewood territory. A few plays later, Pelham was forced to punt and the punt was blocked and returned for a touchdown as Homewood increased its lead to 39-13 halfway through the third quarter.

In the second half, Pelham also threw an interception and fumbled to end any chance of a comeback. Homewood added a late field goal from 29 yards out to make it 42-13.

Pelham’s only points of the second half came with under two minutes left in the game as backup quarterback William Lankford scrambled and threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Miles to bring the final score to 42-21 after a successful two-point conversion.

With the loss, Pelham dropped to 0-3 on the season and 0-1 in region play. Homewood improved to 1-2 on the season and 1-0 in area play.