By John Goolsby
Special For The Tribune
Pinson — Pinson Valley overcame four turnovers and a gritty performance by Shades Valley to punch their ticket to the playoffs with a 23-6 win over the Mounties Friday night.
The Indians got off to a fast start and scored on their first two possessions to take an early 13-0 lead. Pinson Valley’s first score came on a three-yard run by Taurus Chambers with 7:35 remaining in the opening quarter, followed by a 68-yard touchdown pass to Amari Thomas from Cameron Jennings to close out the first quarter
Shades Valley’s Christian Thomas came up with an interception on the Indians’ next possession but the Indians defense held, forcing the Mounties to punt for the third straight time.
The Indians once again turned the ball over on their next drive. Shades Valley recovered a Pinson fumble and moved the ball into scoring position, but two penalties forced a field goal attempt. Jair Aguilar’s 36-yard field goal was wide, and the Mounties remained scoreless with 4:42 remaining in the first half.
On the next possession, the Indians turned the ball over for the third time in a row as defensive back Erin Callens came up with the interception for the Mounties with 3:19 remaining before the break.
The Mounties were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt for the fourth time in the first half.
Pinson Valley got the ball back with 1:43 remaining in the half and drove to the Mountie 6-yard line but could not reach the end zone. Damian Gonzalez kicked a 23-yard field goal as the half expired, and the Indians took a 16-0 lead to the locker room.
Shades Valley received the opening kick of the half. The Mountie offense could not put together a drive and the Mounties were again forced to punt.
Pinson Valley gave the ball back to the Mounties with their second fumble of the night on their opening drive. Mountie quarterback Steve Brown, playing safety, recovered the ball with 7:06 remaining in the third quarter.
On the next play, Christian Thomas raced 84 yards for the touchdown. The extra-point attempt failed, and Pinson Valley held a 16 to 6 lead with 6:53 remaining in the third.
After forcing a Pinson Valley punt, Christian Thomas sprinted 53 yards and gave the Mounties a first down at the Pinson 25-yard line. The Indians defense stiffened, and on fourth down, Pinson Valley’s Thomas Metcalf intercepted Brown’s pass in the end zone with 4:30 remaining in the third quarter.
The Indians extended their lead on an eight-yard touchdown run by Jennings after a short drive. The PAT was successful, and Pinson led valley led 23-6 with 11:32 remaining in the game.
Shades Valley mounted two more drives to the 36-yard line and inside the 10-yard line but could not find the end zone. Final score, Pinson Valley 23, Shades Valley 6.
“I was pleased that we were able to come out fast, learned from last week’s mistakes, and overcame some early turnovers,” said Pinson Valley Head Coach Lee Guess. “Shades Valley had a lot of good schemes and forced us to keep pressing on them”
“Shades Valley fought the whole game. The kids fought,” said Shades Valley Head Coach Rueben Nelson. “I made some mistakes as a head coach, but Shades Valley will fight.”