Pelham gets six turnovers in 31-14 win over Calera

Published 11:30 pm Friday, September 30, 2022

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By ANDREW SIMONSON| Special to the Reporter

CALERA – The Pelham Panthers continued their winning ways on the road with their largest margin of victory of the season, thanks to a 31-14 win over the Calera Eagles on Friday night in Calera.

“Well, we were fortunate to get some turnovers,” Pelham coach Mike Vickery said postgame. “We, you know, really made some mistakes and gave them the ball in some bad situations for us and we were able to overcome that. The defense was able to get some turnovers, any time we can get a two-score lead, we feel pretty good about it and we were able to get that tonight and were just able to hold on against a really good offensive football team.”

After a scoreless start to the game, Clayton Mains opened the night’s scoring with a touchdown to put Pelham up 7-0.

Following a punt from each team, Calera’s Preston Stokes found a wide-open Skylar Strawn for a 39-yard touchdown to tie the game.

Calera had a big chance to take the lead after Curtis Oliver-Avery recovered a fumble, but the Eagles were stopped on fourth down after back-to-back Pelham sacks.

That proved to be Calera’s best chance to take the lead as a 36-yard Panthers’ field goal was followed by a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. Mains’ rushing touchdown afterwards extended Pelham’s lead to 17-7.

Braylyn Farrington tried to spark the Eagles with a 70-yard kickoff return, but Calera couldn’t take advantage of the red zone field position and failed a fake field goal attempt before the half. Calera got the ball to start the second half only down 10, but turnovers started to cost them chances.

An interception led to a Trey Corkill touchdown to give Pelham the 24-7 lead. After Oliver-Avery gave Calera a chance with his second fumble recovery of the game on the 8-yard line, Pelham immediately picked off the Eagles to get the ball back.

The Eagles did take advantage of a short Panthers punt to set up a Daniel Brown score which cut the deficit to 24-14, but Calera went on to throw three interceptions to close out the game, one to Cohen Lee and two to Jamal Miles.

That eventually led to Mains hitting Corkill for the second time in the game to create the final score of 31-14.

After the game, coach Vickery credited Calera coach Jason Hamlin for the progress Calera’s program has made and also believed the six turnovers helped the Panthers gain and sustain a big lead.

“Well, I think part of that, you know, is that when you get a lead, it forces a team into more of a one-dimensional mindset and we were able to get into coverage, get some tipped balls, and get pressure on the quarterback, and you know, as they were having to play a little catchup, so I think being able to get a lead helps with that, but proud of our guys for making a few plays on the football,” coach Vickery said.

Pelham goes back home on Thursday to face Benjamin Russell, while Calera looks to bounce back against Briarwood Christian next Friday.