“It is an upset, but at the same time we knew our kids were capable of it,” Pell City head coach David Shores said. “ We just haven’t put together a complete game all year. We are very young, we have been making mistakes and we haven’t been consistent quarter-to-quarter. We will play a good quarter then an unsound quarter than a good quarter. We talked all week about putting together a complete game one quarter at a time. We have been playing with great effort all year long; we just made mistakes. Tonight, we capitalized off their mistakes. I think that was the difference in the game, the 14 points off turnovers in the first half really set up the stage for us to win tonight.”
The Panthers led 14-13 with 6:32 left in the game. After forcing a Gadsden City punt, the Panthers took over at the 25 yard line. Damaurian Wills led the Panthers down the field. Wills rumbled his way for a 20 yards to the Titans 32-yard line. A few plays later the Panthers offensive line opened up a hole up the middle which allowed Wills to take down to the 1 yard line. Milton Bothwell capped off the 75- yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown. Ryan Curran’s PAT was good to give the Panthers a 21-13 lead with 2:56 left in the game.
CJ Moore led Gadsden City on their final possession. The Titans sophomore quarterback found LeGerald Malone for a 44 yard gain down to the Pell City 30-yard line. Moore then connected with BJ Hammond for an 8 yard gain. Malone rushed for a 7 yard gain down to the Panthers 15-yard line. Moore capped of the drive with a 7-yard touchdown to cut the Panthers lead down to 21-19 with 45.2 left in the game. The Titans were flagged for an illegal procedure penalty which pushed them back to the 8-yard line.
After the penalty, Moore dropped back for a pass attempt, but Pell City’s Bennett Fisher batted the pass attempt down.
On the ensuing kick off , the Titans came down with the onside kick, but the football didn’t travel 10 yards which gave the Panthers the football and sealed the victory.
“He is a sophomore,” Shores said. “We are young and we are a junior laden team with some sophomores mixed in. Bennett Fisher is going to be a phenomenal player. He is a smart kid, he is a 4.0 student with some athletic ability. He plays soccer and all this other stuff. He is a hard working guy and I knew he was going to come up with a big play sooner or later. We grew up this week. We put a good game together against a good football team. Hopefully, it will carry over to next week.”
The Titans kicking game and two first quarter turnovers proved to be their down fall against the Panthers. Gadsden City missed two field goals and they had an extra point blocked.
“The kicking game along with turnovers got us beat,” Gadsden City head coach Joe Billingsley said. “ I am proud of kids for fighting back and getting us in position to go for a 2-point play, but it was a penalty that knocked us back.”
Malone muffed a punt and it was recovered by the Panther. Pell City quickly capitalized as Austin Martin found HD Fomby in the right corner of the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown. Curran’s PAT was good to give Pell City a 7-0 lead with 7:49 left in the first.
After a touchback, the Titian started their first drive of the game at the Panthers recovered the football at the Gadsden City 28-yard line. The key play of the drive was a 10-yard keeper by Martin down to the Titians 19-yard line. On fourth down and 1, Burch sprinted 19 yards around left end for a 19-yard touchdown. The PAT was good to increase the Panthers lead to 14-0 with 6:11 left in the quarter.
The Titans put together back to back 80-yard drives for touchdown to end the first half. Moore connected with Jordan Veasy for a 5-yard touchdown to make it 14-7.
Moore threw his second touchdown of the game to Malone from 15 yards out. Ira Burch blocked the extra point.