LADY LIONS SOFTBALL
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PRATTVILLE TRAVELS TO PELHAM FOR KEY REGIONAL GAME
October 11, 2012By Jimmy White of Prattville High School
LIONS AND PANTHERS BATTLE FOR PLAYOFF SPOT
After a tough battle with long time rival Stanhope Elmore Prattville’s Lions will travel some 66 miles up Interstate highway 65 to take on Pelham. The game is scheduled for Friday night October 12 with a 7 PM kickoff.
Prattville is in a must win situation to continue to play after the season is over. The home date is a long, long shot at most, but with a win over Pelham the Lions would increase their opportunity to play in the post season with a third or fourth place finish.
Pelham has a 3-1 record in the Region. Their only loss in regional play was at Stanhope Elmore on September 7th, 28-14. Since then the Panthers have defeated Thompson, 35-20, Oak Mountain, 35-15, and Wetumpka, 41-7. Sandwiched in between those regional wins Pelham also defeated Tuscaloosa’s Northridge with their super star running back, Bo Scarborough, 34-27.
After Prattville, Pelham will travel to Chelsea and Spain Park to end regional play. Pelham, like Prattville, has playoff hopes riding on the game.
Prattville and Pelham has a little history playing each other in football. During the 2000 and 2001 season the Panthers and Lions were in Region 4 along with Robert E. Lee, Sidney Lanier, Jeff Davis, Montgomery Carver, Selma, and Thompson.
Rick Rhoades was the head coach with the Panthers finishing in fourth place in the Regional with Lee, Prattville and Lanier all being tied with 6-1 record. Lee won the region by virtue of a tie breaking factor, with Lanier gaining second by virtue of a win over Prattville in head to head.
Pelham faced Theodore in the first round and was defeated, 63-35. Prattville won the 2000 meeting defeating the Panthers, 14-7, in Prattville.
After the 2000 season, Rhoades left Pelham to take a position as head coach at Delta State University. Sammy Queen took over the Panthers program. Prattville defeated the Panthers in Pelham 38-21 in 2001. The Panthers fell on hard times and ended the season with a 3-7 record and failed to make the playoffs.
The 2000 game was a classic battle at Stanley-Jensen Stadium. Pelham took the opening kickoff and drove to Prattville’s 13 yard line only to fumble on first down with Ryan Brick recovering.
The Lions took the lead following the fumble recovery, when Roman Harper scrambled out of the pocket and raced 72-yards to take a 7-0 lead with Jake Riddle kicking the first of two extra points.
Prattville took a 14-0 lead late in the third quarter when Harper rifled a pass to Derron Tagger and Tagger out distanced the Panthers secondary 60-yards for a 14-0 lead.
Pelham scored with 1:34 left in the game after a 76-yard drive. Pelham had one more opportunity with 58 seconds left, but time ran out on the Panthers at their 42.
In 2001 Prattville rolled into Pelham as the number five ranked team in the state. Prattville’s stout defense forced the Panthers into five turnovers.
Prattville took a 17-7 lead at halftime with a 34-yard field goal from Jake Riddle, and a 12-yard run from Ty Griswold following a 27-yard pass interception from Larry Ishman that carried to the Panther six-yard line. Derron Tagger added a TD after a long sustained 87-yard drive for the 17-7 halftime margin.
Randy Anderson gave Prattville a 24-7 lead on their first possession of the third quarter. Rod Bates added a TD with 10:40 left in the game for a 31-14 lead.
The Panthers attempted an onside kick following their score with Mike Mitchell recovering it for the Lions at the 46. Five plays later Prattville score with Randy Anderson dashing off tackle from 11-yards out.
Pelham added a late score as Prattville won, 38-21. The following week the Lions moved to number four in the polls and ended the season ranked fourth. Prattville lost to Daphne, 17-14, in the quarterfinals at home. The tough defeat has been tabbed “the phantom blocking in back penalty”. Derron Tagger raced 73-yards with a punt late in the game, but it was negated for a blocking in-back penalty. Films of the game showed there was no contact. Steve Savorese, current Executive Director of the AHSAA was head coach at Daphne.
Daphne won the 2001 class 6A championship at Legion field trouncing Hoover, 48-21.
Bill Clark was in his second and third year as Prattville's head football coach and Athletic Director.
For University of Alabama fans attending the Pelham-Prattville game Friday night there will be a familiar name in the defensive backfield for the Panthers. Antonio London II is strong safety for Pelham, and is the son of former University of Alabama linebacker Antonio London.
The Panthers returned 11 starters, six offensive players, four defensive players and an outstanding punter and kicker, senior John Perko (6-0-230.)
Brett Burnett is in his eighth year at the Shelby County School. Senior defensive linemen Gardner Fish (6-3-250) and Chisom Muruako (6-0, 215) lead the defensive line, while cornerback and wide receiver Fletcher Johnson (5-9-170) and London (5-11-180) leads the defensive secondary.
Two senior linebackers Robert Coats (6-2-205) and Elliott Martin (6-0-205) pace a tough defensive backfield.
It could be a tough, tough encounter for the Lions in a hostile atmosphere.