After 29 years, the Pell City Panthers and the Lincoln Golden Bears renew their rivalry tonight at Keith Howard Memorial Stadium in Lincoln. The communities are only 13 miles apart, which created an excitement with the players and the towns.
“It is good to play local,” Pell City head coach Brooks Dampeer said. “The kids are excited; they know some guys on the other side. I think both communities will be excited to play the game.”
The Panthers (1-0) enter tonight’s game looking to improve from last week’s 17-14 win over Walker. Freshman Sergio Alvarez kicked a 19-yard field goal with four seconds left in the game. The Panthers didn’t get on the board until the fourth quarter, which is something that Dampeer wasn’t pleased with. Pell City’s lone touchdown came off a five-play, 94-yard drive, with the touchdown coming on a 65-yard pass from quarterback Hudson Hughes to Devon Mitchell with 3:30 left in the game.
“It is always a lot to work on from Week 1 to Week 2,” Dampeer said. “I feel like we got better this week; we have learned from our mistakes. We look to have those corrected so we can start a little faster on offense than we did last week.”
The Panthers’ defense was dominant in the first three quarters of the game. Pell City held Walker to negative three yards through three quarters. The Panthers’ defense also blocked a field goal.
“Our defense played extremely well,” Dampeer said. “They were three-and-out the first three or four series. We gave up a long drive early in the fourth. We ran the kickoff back and they were right back on the field. Then we muffed a kickoff return, so they were on the field three series in a row without the offense going out there. They were tired not even considering how hot it was to play three series in a row. They played well.”
The Golden Bears defeated Wellborn 28-14 last week in their fall jamboree. The score was 14-14 when Lincoln defensive back Lejephryes Carmichael scooped up a Wellborn fumble near the Wellborn 45-yard line and returned it for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:42 left in the final quarter of the two-quarter varsity portion of the jamboree. Zay Caldwell sealed the victory with a 9-yard keeper with 1:18 on the clock.
Dampeer is familiar with some of the Golden Bears’ players, due to his father spending a season at the helm at Lincoln three seasons ago.
“I know they can run,” he said. “When you can run and play inspired football, good things will happen. We have to get after them.”
Dampeer said getting off to a fast start on offense is one of the keys for the Panthers if they are going to start the season with a 2-0 record.
“We have to take care of the football,” Dampeer said. “We have to win special teams; we have to be better in that phase. We have to start faster offensively. Defensively, we have to contain the quarterback.”
Attempts to reach Lincoln head coach Brad Wallace for comment Thursday evening were unsuccessful.
Pell City leads the series 20-4-2.
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. from Keith Howard Memorial Stadium.
Contact LaVonte Young at firstname.lastname@example.org.