By Alex Headley
After trailing at halftime, the Pinson Valley Indians turned on the heat.
“I’m glad we overcame some adversity,” Matt Glover, the team’s head coach said. “They didn’t give up at halftime. We kept fighting.”
The 27-17 victory means that Pinson Valley High School will move on to the second round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. The Indians are set to play top ranked Muscle Shoals in round two next week.
“They are very good,” Glover said. “They are the number 1 team in the state. That’s three years in a row that we have played the no.1 team in the playoffs.”
The Indian’s scored a field goal early in the night, putting them ahead 3-0 with 9:20 on the clock in the first quarter. Pleasant Grove answered with a 28-yard passing touchdown on fourth down. The Spartans took the lead with two minutes left and would hold it until well into the third quarter.
The Spartans kept the pressure up, scoring again with 2:37 left in the half. Trailing at halftime, the Indians had some work to do.
“At halftime, we knew we had to stop making mistakes,” senior linebacker Zach Cunningham said. “All the players really rallied at halftime. We decided we were going to play like this was our last game.”
Glover attributed the team’s halftime comeback to the defense, namely Zach Cunningham’s performance. Cunningham had 12 tackles for the night.
“Zach’s blocked punt really turned things around for us,” Glover said. “Zach had a big game, he was key.”
Cunningham is set to visit the University of Alabama today to meet Coach Nick Saban and talk about recruitment.
“Saban was supposed to watch his tapes today,” Glover said. “Tennessee and Duke were both at the game tonight to watch him. They like him.”
Defensive back Mondino Gibson aided the defenses rally with two interceptions for the night. A 30-yard pass to Earnest Robinson gave the Indians their first touchdown of the night.
“Earnest is really playing now,” Glover said. “The last two games he has played better than he has played all season.”
Robinson caught 8 catches for 170 yards for the night and two touchdowns. Pleasant Grove scored with a field goal with 7:16 on the clock in the third quarter putting them up 17-10. Pinson answered back with another field goal of their own.
Shortly after, quarterback Brooks Garrett found Robinson in the endzone again for another touchdown, giving the Indians the lead once again 20-17. Garret completed 13 of 28 passes for 219 yards and two touchdowns.
With just over a minute left in the game sophomore runningback Nick Gibson dove into the endzone to score Pinson’s final touchdown of the night and sealing the 27-17 playoff victory. Gibson rushed 120 yards and had one touchdown
“I’m feeling great,” Gibson said. “I feel like I am learning a lot with the team.”
Gibson has been a big playmaker for the Indians this season and is setting up to be one of the team’s top players next year.
In Pinson’s history, the team has never made it past the second round of the playoffs. Auburn commit and senior wide receiver Earnest Robinson wants to change that.
“We have to get focused and keep our momentum,” Robinson said. “We have to keep our mind right, we can’t get a big head.”