Pinson Valley takes down Springville
By David Knox
For The Tribune
SPRINGVILLE – There was plenty of star tailback Nick Gibson darting, dashing and bulldozing over tacklers, and lots of steady quarterback Brooks Garrett tossing passes to receivers Errius Collins and Dylan Evans. But the unsung warriors of Friday night were the Pinson Valley defenders, who forced five turnovers and throttled the Springville Tigers’ offense most of the game in a 49-21 Class 5A, Region 6 win that clinched the Indians a playoff spot.
“The defense played good,” said Pinson Valley head coach Matt Glover. “We played really, really well in the first half. We had some busted coverages we got to fix, but besides that, it was probably one of our better all-around games.”
Four of those turnovers came in the first half, when Pinson Valley (5-3, 4-2) rolled out to a 42-14 lead over the Tigers (3-5, 2-4).
Three turnovers – two of them back-to-back late in the first quarter — set the tone and put the Indians on their way.
Leading 7-0 after a Garrett-to-Collins connection midway in the first period, the Indians forced and recovered a fumble at the Tigers 42. A 15-yard pass from Garrett to the multipurpose Gibson and a 36-yard scramble eventually set up a 4-yard rush by Gibson from the Seminole formation with 1:20 left in the first period.
It didn’t take long for the defense to set up two more scores.
On the next Springville possession, DaVonte Perkins knocked the ball loose from a Tiger and recovered it himself at the 1. Gibson leaped into the end zone and Saul Rios added his third extra point as the lead grew to 21-0.
On the next series, Elijah Bibbs picked off a Tigers pass and rumbled to the 21. A late hit out of bounds put the ball on the 10, and Gibson shredded through for another TD on the final play of the quarter. Rios’ PAT made it 28-0, and a foregone conclusion.
Before the half, Garrett added another scoring pass to Collins and bulled in himself from the 1 with just 16 seconds before the break. Springville countered with two big plays: a 76-yard run by William Foster and an 87-yard kickoff return by Brandon Felder.
In the third quarter, Springville scored again on a 48-yard pass from Alex Conwell to Jalen Ramsey to cut it to 42-21, but the Indians responded with another score as Garrett found Evans with a 17-yard TD pass with 8:13 in the third quarter.
From there, Pinson Valley turned it over to Gibson and the running game to grind down the clock. He finished with 223 yards on 29 carries.
“I thought the offense did well,” Glover said. “Executed when we needed to. Brooks threw the ball well. He’s going to have to throw the ball from here on for us to have a chance.”
Gibson was happy with the yards and his three scores, but pointed his fingers to the defense in providing the opportunities and his offensive teammates.
“The yards and everything mean a lot to me, but every time I get 100 yards or score a touchdown, I just give the credit to my o-line,” he said.
Up next for Pinson Valley is another big region game, this one with Moody, and the winner will host a first-round playoff game.