By Carey Reeder
For The Tribune
BIRMINGHAM — It was the defensive side of the ball that shined for Pinson Valley in Friday night’s first-round Class 6A playoff game against Jackson-Olin as the Indians prevailed 31-5.
The Indians defense did not allow a touchdown in the game and had several key takeaways which helped the offense swing the momentum in their favor. “The defense had some big plays recovering a fumble in their end zone” coach Matt Glover said. “It was a bend but don’t break type of game. Proud of them.”
While the defense for the Indians was holding Jackson-Olin to only a field goal, the Pinson offense made several big drives in the second half that opened the game up. The first half was a defensive battle of both teams with the score 7-3 at the intermission.
Coming out to the second half, quarterback Jackie Matthews led the Indians on their opening drive going, 5-for-5 through the air, which set up Orion Morris scoring on a reverse. The Indians would add a field goal and two late touchdowns by running back Khymel Chaverst to blow the game open.
“Let’s make sure we take care of ourselves, clean up the dumb mistakes,” said Glover on his message to the team at halftime. “Biggest thing I wanted them to do was to be mentally sound and come out and keep competing.”
The Indians did just that by outscoring the Mustangs 24-2 in the second half. Jackson-Olin would get a safety on a backwards pass by Matthews late in the third quarter, but would be their only scoring in the second half.
Although the defense shined, the offense was solid too for the Indians. Matthews finished the night 13-of-21 passing for 169 yards, sharing the ball well throwing to four different receivers throughout the night. He also added a rushing touchdown to his numbers as well. Chaverst had 158 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns in the game.
The Pinson defense was led by CJ Rudolph, Rhasaan Christian, Jaylun Gulley, Zapheth Cunningham and Desmond Scott, who all pitched in over five tackles apiece for the stifling Indians defense.
The Indians advance to the second round of the playoffs next week to play Austin, which Pinson lost to last year in the playoffs. This one, however, will be at home for the Indians. Coach Glover is looking forward to the challenge, but knows it will not be easy. “They are semi-finalists team last year, we have our work cut out for us, but the good thing is we get to play another week.”