PINSON — Pinson Valley struggled somewhat against visiting Hayden in the first half, but pulled away in the second to take a 44-6 Class 5A, Region 6 victory at home Friday.
The Indians’ Darius Adams scored first when he scooped up a Wildcat fumble and ran 22 yards to the end zone with 9:51 left in the opening quarter.
Neither team was able to muster any offense until early in the second quarter, when Deonta Cooper connected on a 29 yard field goal with 10:28 left in the first half.
After forcing a Hayden punt, the Indians would get to the Wildcats' 14. But that’s where defensive tackle Walter Finley forced a fumble which was recovered by Hayden's Cody Colvin. The Cats then returned the favor when Josh Welch recovered a fumble on the Hayden 5-yard line.
Just before the half, Pinson's Juray Smith intercepted a Cats pass and returned it to the 16. That’s when Indians standout running back Nick Gibson took over, getting his first score of the night on a 5-yard run.
After a personal-foul penalty against the Wildcats and a good kickoff return, Pinson was in business at the Hayden 49. A heavy dose of Gibson helped the Indians find paydirt on his 2-yard with 9:20 to go in the third quarter.
The Cats put the ball on the ground again on their next possession, and Pinson's Josh Barron recovered it at the 29, but Cooper missed a 26-yard field goal with 6:37 left in the third.
Hayden linebacker Reid Trimble recovered a Gibson fumble on the Indians 14, and on fourth down quarterback Tim Curry hit freshman running back Leonard Johnson for 12 yards and the sole Wildcat score with exactly two minutes left in the third.
But the Indians wasted little time in answering. Gibson capped the 66-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run.
On the Indians next possession, quarterback Brooks Garrett hit Dylon Evans for a 40-yards score with just over eight minutes left in the game. Backup running back Tyree Watson also added a 42-yard touchdown run late in the game.
"We played a well prepared team tonight,” Indians coach Matt Glover said. “Coach [Keith] Register and his staff had a great game plan, and he does a great job. We didn't play very well the first half — you can't play like that and win.”
Register himself was more contemplative. “We really played hard the first half. We are trying to get better every week. Hopefully we can improve and be competitive next week," he said.
Gibson finished with 171 yards rushing on 20 carries and three touchdowns. Dylan Putnam led the Wildcats with 42 yards on 14 carries.
Wildcats left tackle Tyler Swindle was injured in the first half, came back in and played briefly, and then sat out the second half. His status is unknown.
The Indians face their biggest challenge of the season next week, as they host Clay-Chalkville, the second-ranked team in Class 4A and a 38-7 winner over Pell City on Friday. "It will be a fun game, and we get them at our place. That's why I schedule these games, to see where our program is,” Glover said. “We look forward to the challenge."
The win puts Pinson Valley at 3-1 overall and 2-1 in the region, while the loss drops Hayden to 0-4, 0-3. The Cats host longtime rival Corner next week.
|TEAM STATS||Hayden||Pinson Valley|