By Bobby Mathews, Sports Editor
PINSON — The Pinson Valley Indians still have something to say about the AHSAA 6A playoffs.
The Indians assured the rest of the field that they weren’t done with the 2021 season by out-muscling and out-hustling a talented Muscle Shoals team in the first round, 28-20. It was anyone’s game until senior running back Mike Sharpe answered the call with a touchdown run with 42 seconds left in the game.
And then on Muscle Shoals’ ensuing possession, the Indians’ defense stood tall, forcing an incompletion by Luke Peoples as the Trojans threatened from the Pinson Valley 42-yard line, and then sacking Peoples to end the game.
This Pinson Valley team is forging its own identity at the tail end of a season that has seen them challenged at every turn. And they keep finding ways to win. Against Robert E. Lee, it was Damian Gonzales hitting a last-second field goal to win 15-14. This week, it was the offensive line stepping up to give Sharpe room to run for the late score.
In other words, Pinson Valley does what every championship team does: They find a way to get it done. That’s why the Indians are The Tribune’s Team of the Week.
The game against Muscle Shoals was something of a microcosm for how the Indians’ season has gone. Faced with adversity when the Trojans’ Dontavaius Pritchard blocked a field goal try, scooped up the ball and returned it approximately 70 yards for a touchdown to tie the game at 14 early in the third quarter, Pinson Valley didn’t quit.
When Peoples tied the game at 21 on a 12-yard keeper early in the fourth, quarter and Pritchard intercepted a potential Zach Pyron touchdown right after that, the Indians didn’t stop. They kept pushing forward.
The defense rose to the occasion, as it has for much of the season. Muscle Shoals had to punt from deep in its own territory, and Pyron led Pinson Valley on one more scoring drive.
Georgia Tech commit Pyron overcame that interception. A real competitor, Pyron came into this game having never lost a playoff game. That wouldn’t change on this night, either, as he threw a short TD pass to Amare Thomas and a 59-yarder to Taborie Reed just over a Muscle Shoals’ defenders fingertips. After halftime, Sharpe had a 47-yard TD run and then the game-winner.
The Indians host Oxford on Friday, November 12, 2021. The Tribune Team of the Week is sponsored by Courtesy GMC. Also considered this week: Center Point, Hewitt-Trussville and Leeds.