By Alex Headley
Freshman Ko Powell took the field as Pinson Valley High School’s starting quarterback for the first time Friday night.
“It feels good (to be starting quarterback),” Powell said. “I think the team is really backing me up.”
Powell completed 13 of 25 passes for 137 yards, and had two touchdown passes. The freshman is filling in for starting quarterback Brooks Garret, who is out with a concussion from last week’s game with top spot 4A Oneonta Redskins.
Last week’s loss to Oneonta dropped the team three ranks in the Alabama Sports Writers Association polls. Friday’s 31-7 victory will no doubt put them in a more favorable position.
Backing Powell up in the region match against Mortimer Jordan High School was running back Nick Gibson.
“Ko knows how we run everything,” Gibson said. “He was already fighting for this spot.”
Pinson Valley started the game strong with a 50-yard touchdown from Auburn bound Earnest Robinson. Gibson rushed 203 yards over 19 attempts against the Blue Devils, scoring two touchdowns in the process.
A 23-yard pass to Harry Mason put the Indians up 14 to 0 with just under three minutes left in the first.
Quarterback Powell completed 13 of 25 passes for 137 yards, and had two touchdown passes.
Nick Gibson scored his first of two touchdowns with a two-yard rush with 5:11 in the second, putting the match 21 to 0.
A 17-yard field goal from Hunter Middleton with seven seconds left in third brought the score to 24 to 0 at the half.
The Indians wasted little time in the second half, Gibson scored again on a one-yard rush touchdown with just 11:41 in the third quarter
The Blue Devils got on the board in the third quarter with a two-yard rush from running back Brandon Merriweather.
Penalties and turnovers on both sides slowed the remainder of the game to a crawl, preventing either team from making another scoring drive.
Head coach Matt Glover was pleased with the win, specifically with the performance of Gibson and his “backup” quarterback.
“I was pleased with Ko,” Glover said. “Coming in on a region game, he did well. Nick is just a great runningback, he makes a lot of plays on his own. Still, he knows he can improve.”
Despite the compliments from coaches and teammates, Powell said he knows he has room to improve.
“I know I can do a lot better,” he said. “I can make a lot of adjustments.”
It remains to be seen if Powell will be taking the field again next week for the Indian’s region match against Walker High School.
“I don’t know if (Garret) can play next week,” Glover said. “It just depends on what the doctor says.”
Regardless, Glover is confident that his backup will perform well.
“I say backup, but he has been fighting for the spot,” he said. “He has been playing since he was four years old. He asks me stuff all the time, even the little stuff. He wants to improve.”
Penalties still plagued Pinson Valley Friday night; the Indians racked up 10 penalty calls for a total loss of 55 yards.
“We’ve got to get them fixed,” Glover said. “I’ve never been big on punishment for penalties, we want a good hustle. But holding, offsides, that’s mental stuff and we have to work on it.”
Walker High School pulled out a victory over Glover’s former team, Moody, Friday night.
“Walker has always been a good team; I know they will be tough,” Glover said. “I hope everyone comes out and supports us at home.”