Pelham comes up empty as Homewood shuts out Panthers

Published 12:05 am Saturday, October 15, 2022

By ANDREW SIMONSON | Special to the reporter

PELHAM — The Homewood Patriots spoiled senior night in Pelham, beating the Pelham Panthers 28-0 on Friday night for their largest win of the season.

“Well, hats off to Homewood, you know, big game atmosphere and they stepped up and coach [Ben Burgeson] did a great job of having them ready,” Pelham coach Mike Vickery said postgame. “We came out slow, my fault, and our kids, you know, once we got down, kind of had to get out of what we were trying to do. Offensively, we struggled, but we’ll be ready to play the next one.”

After two punts from each team to start the game, Homewood opened up the scoring with less than a minute remaining in the first with a Woods Ray touchdown run that was set up by a 28-yard catch from Jackson Parris.

Jamal Miles’ one-handed interception in the end zone on Homewood’s next drive was one of the plays of the night for the Panthers, but Pelham came up empty on the ensuing drive.

The Patriots took advantage of getting the ball back and capped off their drive with a Mondrell Odell rushing touchdown to go up 14-0.

Pelham then got picked off to end the half by Rigdon Gibbons, who recovered the ball while it was in midair after a near interception from Clay Burdeshaw.

From there, the Pelham offense continued to sputter while Homewood came up with big plays. Woods Ray had the longest scoring play of the night from 55 yards out for his second of the game, and the Homewood defense got an interception near the end of the third quarter.

The Patriots also took advantage of great starting field position at midfield after a Pelham punt in the back of their own end zone, as Calyb Colbert took it to the end zone from 32 yards out to cap off the scoring for the night at 28-0.

However, Pelham wouldn’t go down quietly, and made their last drive of the night their best one. Clayton Mains would get the first down on his legs, and then throw a 25-yard pass to Christian Johnson to get into the red zone.

Mains’ first big throw of the night threatened to give the Panthers momentum and their first points of the game, but the Patriots defense held on 4th & 5 from their own 15. That let the offense run out the rest of the game.

It was the first shutout of the season for Pelham and their largest margin of defeat on the season after mainly playing in close games all year.

Afterwards, coach Vickery chalked up a lot of the team’s early struggles to bad penalties and an inability to convert on third and fourth down, and he wants to use this as an opportunity to improve his team.

“Well, you know, just learn,” coach Vickery said. “We have to learn. We have to get better, it happens, you can’t change it, and, you know, we didn’t put our best product on the field tonight and we gotta do that next week because every game is a big game in this region.”

And a big game it is for the 4-4 Panthers: they travel to Clanton to face Chilton County in their region finale as they hope to return to the playoffs for the second straight season.

“We’ll learn from this, go back, watch film, we got the biggest game of the year next week with a region game and, you know, we gotta be better, we gotta be better as coaches and as players and all the way around, and we will be, this was a game that kind of got away from us and we’ll be ready next week,” coach Vickery said.