Pelham falls in close game with Jackson-Olin

Published 1:26 am Saturday, August 20, 2022

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By LAUREN SEXTON | Sports Reporter

PELHAM –Football season is finally here, and the Pelham Panthers took on the Jackson-Olin Mustangs at home on Friday, Aug. 19. The stakes were high during the Friday night game for the new head coach, Mike Vickery. Despite playing a strong game, the Panthers lost to the Mustangs 14-10. 

“These first games of the year are about looking and evaluating a couple of quarterbacks. Trying to get some different guys involved offensively,” Vickey said about some of the major takeaways from the first game of the season.

“I thought defensively as a group, all the defensive linebackers played really well,”  Vickery said. “We have a couple of dynamic players. We just gotta figure out ways in which they can get the ball in their hands a little bit quicker and give them an opportunity to make some plays.”

With all that occurred during the matchup against the Mustangs, Vickey is confident the Panthers will correct their mistakes. “Those things happen, and you learn them. We gotta make sure that we don’t put them in a position for that to happen,” Vickery said. “We’ll correct the mistakes”

The Panthers’ defense put up a good fight against the Mustangs in all four quarters. Linebackers Cohen Lee and Seth Braham saw the positive aspects of the first game of their senior season and shared the same thoughts as their coach Vickery did when it came to the performance of the Panther’s defense.

“I’m just proud of our defense as a whole,” Lee said. “We had a bunch of fourth-down stops, that’s always good. We got the breakout, the turnover chain, that’s always fun.”

“We had a really good two-point conversion stop. We just made a lot of big plays as a defense.” Braham said when discussing his thoughts about the game. 

For most of the game, the Panther’s defense dominated the field. The defense made several recoveries from the Mustang’s fumbles, stopped a two-point conversion for the Mustangs, and made some heavy tackles. One tackle hit a Mustang player so hard it knocked the player’s helmet off during the final quarter of the game.

Senior and wide receiver Darius Copeland played a strong game alongside his teammates during the Pelham football opener. Copeland gained several yards in many plays made by the Panthers, as well as making a few tackles toward the middle of the second half.

“These kids are gonna go work, and our coaches are gonna go work. Our improvement from week one to two will be a big improvement,” Vickery said. He is confident that the players and the coaching staff can learn from their mistakes and cultivate their strengths.

With there still being ten more weeks left of football season, predicting the future of Pelham’s season is filled with uncertainties. However, their current mentality, and their desire to learn from mistakes, could lead to a pretty successful season for the Panthers.

The Pelham High School Panthers hit the road next Friday to Oak Mountain for week two of the 2022 football season.