Pelham finalizes 2020 football schedule

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Sports Editor

The Pelham Panthers were a team that started off slow during the 2019 season with a 0-6 record, before then winning three in a row to finish the season at 3-7.

Now, the Panthers will prepare for the 2020 season looking to build off of that ending with several returning players, but will do so in a different region featuring several new teams on their schedule.

After reclassification in late December, 2019, Pelham was moved from Class 6A, Region 5 into Class 6A, Region 3. It’s a region that also sees Helena move with Pelham, while other county foe Calera was in that region previously and will remain there.

Other opponents will include Benjamin Russell, Chilton County, Stanhope Elmore and Wetumpka, making Helena the only region opponent that the Panthers squared off against last year.

Pelham will also start the season with two consecutive out-of-region games that will be exciting as well, but their first three and four of their first five games are on the road.

The 2020 season will begin on Friday, Aug. 21, with a road trip up to the north part of Jefferson County when the Panthers head to Mortimer Jordan. Pelham is 2-2 against Mortimer Jordan all-time with a win most recently in 2017.

During week two, Pelham will get set for its first of four in-county games over its next five matchups when the Panthers head to Oak Mountain on Friday, Aug. 28. The Panthers will be looking for redemption after losing to the Eagles during the 2019 season for the first time since 2005.

That will lead into a game against another county opponent on Friday, Sept. 4, against the Calera Eagles. The last two years, Pelham has opened the season with Calera, and this year, it will mark the start of region play.

Finally, on Friday, Sept. 11, the Panthers will play in their first home game of the season against Stanhope Elmore. That will be a region game, and it will mark the third all-time meeting between the two after splitting two matchups between 2012 and 2013.

The Panthers will then take on two county opponents in a row over the next two weeks. They’ll play Helena in a region game on the road on Friday, Sept. 18, before then returning home for a non-region game on Friday, Sept. 25, to host county foe Chelsea.

Pelham will then play one final road game on Friday, Oct. 2, in a region matchup with Wetumpka. The Panthers are 3-3 all-time against Wetumpka, but the Indians have won the last two (2016 and 2017) by a combined score of 90-24.

Following that game, however, Pelham will close out the season with three consecutive home games, including two more region games.

The Panthers will take on Benjamin Russell on Friday, Oct. 9, before then heading into a bye week. Following that bye, they’ll return to action for their final region game of 2020 with a matchup against Chilton County.

Pelham will also keep a familiar rival on the schedule, as the Panthers will close out the regular season on Friday, Oct. 30, with a matchup against the Homewood Patriots.