The Yellow Jackets are having another solid season, while the Panthers are having their worst season since 2000. The records won’t matter when the Panthers host Oxford on Friday at 7 p.m.
“You don’t see a lot of neighborhood games,” Pell City head coach Jay Brown said. “We have two with Talladega and Oxford; these games are special. This game is exciting; it does not matter what the records are. It’s going to be a hard fought game.”
As this disappointing season winds down the Panthers are still working hard to become better. Brown is proud of the way his team continues to work hard.
“It (practice) has been great,” Brown said. “I’m proud of my players. I don’t want to have another season like this for a while, but it shows the character of these young men. They come in and work hard every day and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”
In their 22-4 loss to Pinson Valley last week, the Panthers struggled mightily. Pell City only managed 46 total yards and turned the football over last week.
“Tough,” Brown said. “It is very disappointing; we were not able to generate anything on offense. I think we played worse than we did in week one and I didn’t think we could play worse than that.
“I’m really proud of our defense for keeping us in the game. I told the players that it was my fault. We are just working real hard to improve from last week; we have gotten a lot better.”
The Yellow Jackets look to come into Pete Rich Stadium and get back into the win column. Last week Oxford fell to Shades Valley 21-17 and the loss ended Oxford’s hopes of hosting the first round of the AHSAA playoffs.
“I know they are disappointed after (last) Friday night,” Brown said. “They are still 6-2; they have a great football team and they are well coached. I think they are outstanding on both sides of the ball and it is going to be a great challenge for us.”
Brown believes the Panthers will have to get their offense moving and prevent the big play if they are going to put an end to Oxford’s three game winning streak over Pell City.
“We have to protect the ball,” Brown said.” We have to be able to move the ball; we don’t have to go down and score every time, but we have to control field position.
“On defense we can’t allow the big play. We are going to have to make them drive the ball. The kicking game is real important in a game like this. Last week that was a dagger for us. With the score 6-2 we had a break down in punt coverage and they ran one back for a touchdown. The kicking game will play a big part for both teams on Friday night.”
Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Friday from Pete Rich Stadium.