Pelham wins overtime thriller with rival Helena to clinch playoff spot
Published 11:45 am Friday, April 14, 2023
By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor
HELENA – The Pelham Panthers clinched a playoff spot on Thursday, April 14 and did so against their biggest rival on the road.
In a game that featured area-leading Pelham and a Helena team that was one of the hottest in the area in recent play following an upset of Briarwood, the two lived up to their talent in a battle that went beyond regulation.
After playing to a 1-1 tie through the first 80 minutes of the game, the matchup went into overtime.
The Panthers, however, were hoping to keep firm control in the area with the win, and that seemed to give the extra jolt needed in overtime as Radi Richardson eventually capitalized with the game-winning goal to give Pelham a 2-1 victory.
Pelham had to come from behind to pick up the win after Helena took the early lead in the opening half of the game. With that, the Huskies were actually able to take a 1-0 lead into the halftime break.
Building off of their 2-1 victory against the Lions a week earlier, the Huskies were playing confident going into the second half.
A talented Pelham team, however, didn’t roll over. The Panthers fought back with the equalizer in the second half to tie the game in a physical slugfest between the two. The goal was scored when Eusebio Hernandez headed the ball to Elder Esquivel, who buried a shot into the back of the net.
That ultimately forced overtime where the Panthers added a second unanswered to finish off the comeback victory. The game-winning goal came on a throw in from Ra-Sen Martin, who found Richardson for the shot and the win.
With the win, Pelham improved to 4-1 in area play with a final matchup against Indian Springs on April 21 determining the area champion. A win for the Panthers in that game guarantees an area title, while a loss by two goals or less would also do the same.