TALLADEGA -- Pell City scored two touchdowns in the second half to defeat Talladega 14-0 on Friday night at Mary Dumas Stadium.
It was Pell City’s (1-2) first win of the season and eighth straight victory over Talladega.
“At halftime, our assistant coaches did a great job with adjustments,” Pell City head coach Wayne Lee said. “The game plan was to do what we did in the second half; it just took us a while to get it going.
“The ground game looked good tonight; we knew that they weren’t going to give us a lot of passes right there. We knew what they were going to do, so we took advantage of the run. I think we ran for 287 yards, which is a good night for us.”
One of the adjustments the Panthers made in the second half was giving the ball to running back Quinton Hicks. After only getting one carry in the first half, Hick carried the ball 11 times in the second half for 142 yards.
Hicks played a major role in the Panthers’ first scoring drive as he rushed for 36 yards, including a 28-yard run to the Talladega 28-yard line.
Pell City’s success running the ball opened up the passing game as Baylor Smith connected with David Keith for a 17-yard touchdown to give the Panthers a 7-0 lead with 4:18 left in the third period.
Talladega attempted to respond on its ensuing possession. The Tigers put together what seemed to be a promising drive, but Nigel Scales lost a fumble at the Pell City 19-yard line.
The Panthers capitalize on the mistake, putting together an 81-yard drive for a touchdown.
Hicks showed off his speed and power on a 44-yard run. Pell City also gave Talladega a different look as wide receiver Kentrell Borden came in at quarterback for Smith after his helmet was knocked off.
Borden displayed his playmaking ability as he was able to get loose for a 17-yard run to the Talladega 11. Borden capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown reception from Smith to give Pell City a 14-0 lead with 9:56 left.
Scales tried to lead a comeback.
The senior quarterback connected with Saylor Richardson for a 42-yard completion. Talladega, however, would turn the ball over on downs a few plays late. The Panthers made sure Talladega did not get the ball back, putting together a seven-minute drive to run out the clock.
THREE TO KNOW
David Keith also had a big night for the Panthers. Keith rushed for 101 yards on 12 carries.
Pell City missed opportunities in the red zone. The Panthers were deep in Talladega territory in the first and third quarters but came away without points, missing two field goals.
Talladega had five drives reach Pell City territory. Three of those drives were in the second half. In those three occasions, the Tigers were forced to punt, lost a fumble and turned the ball over on downs.
Hicks on career-high 142-yard performance:
“After only getting one carry in the first two quarters, the coaches told me that they wanted me to run the ball in the second half,” Hicks said. “I just pushed myself to get yards and help my team win.”
Lee on Hicks’ breakout performance in the second half:
“He is going to be a good one,” Lee said. “He is just a young kid that we got late in the year. He is a big load and he has a little bit of speed, too … Offensively in the second half, we were good, but we played well all night defensively. When you get a shutout, it is a good thing.”
Talladega head coach Shannon Felder on the loss:
“I have to do a better job of getting our guys ready to play,” Felder said. “I felt like they played hard tonight, but we made too many mistakes and too many penalties. You have to give them the credit; they came in hungry for a win and they executed better than we did. We still have a chance to make the playoffs, we still have a chance to accomplish our goals. I told them to put this one behind them, it is over with. If we win next week, it will keep us on top of the (region). Then we will have a week off. We have a lot of guys banged up, and the week off will give them a chance to heal.”
Pell City hosts rival Oxford on Sept. 18.
Talladega will host Holtville for homecoming on Sept. 18