PELHAM -- Playoffs? Playoffs? At Pelham?
Yep, the Hornets are thinking about it now. After three winless seasons in its last five, Pelham High, under first-year head coach Frankie Carroll, took a huge step toward a postseason birth Friday with a 28-20 win against Terrell County.
"It's time for the playoffs," Hornets senior Brandon Bostick said after the win. "We are going to the playoffs."
Hold on, young man. There's still a lot of football to be played, but Pelham made its statement Friday, turning an early 14-6 deficit into a 21-14 lead in the blink of an eye.
Terrell County (2-6, 2-3 Region 1-A) nearly went ahead two scores before halftime, marching to the Pelham 7-yard line, where a loose pitch was scooped up by Hornets senior linebacker Denzel Jackson. Jackson, who is also Pelham's fullback, had no trouble racing 82 yards the other way to give his team a 21-14 halftime lead.
"Nothing but green grass," Jackson said about his view of the game-changing score. "I trusted my defense."
Jackson then added: I knew we wouldn't let them score. I had faith in my boys."
Pelham (4-4, 3-2 Region 1-A) had tied the game at 14-14 in the second quarter when Bostick broke free from a pile of players and galloped 57 yards.
"I saw a clear shot (to the endzone), so I took it," said Bostick, who led all rushers with 81 yards on 11 carries.
Maurice Young hauled in an 18-yard scoring strike from Cody Godwin in the third quarter to put Pelham ahead, 28-14, but the Greenwaves rallied in the fourth.
Jevanta Daniels caught his second touchdown of the game with 11:52 to play, cutting the Hornets' lead to 28-20 after the point after was missed.
Terrell County had its chances, but squandered four trips inside the Pelham 25. The Greenwave turned the ball over on downs three times inside or near the redzone and saw the game swing two touchdowns on Jackson's scoop-and-score before half.
"We just didn't take advantage of the opportunities," Terrell head coach William Huff said. "We never had control of the game. We've just got to mature and make plays. We're doing things we shouldn't be doing. Good teams don't do that."
Terrell was held to minus-7 rushing yards in the second half after falling behind and went to the passing game , but had several drops, including one in the endzone. Junior quarterback Jerkerious Scott hit 10-of-27 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Tailback Kemari Carter added a 19-yard run for a score in the second quarter to put Terrell ahead, 14-6, with 8:25 to play before halftime. Fullback Basheer Rogers was hampered by an ankle injury and carried the ball just five times for seven yards.
"We gave and gave and gave," Pelham head coach Frankie Carroll said. "We just tried not to give up the big play."
Daniels finished with 70 receiving yards on five catches for Terrell, but the Greenwave rushing attack was limited to 67 yards on the ground. Brandon Smith ran for 34 yards, including an 8-yard touchdown, for Pelham. Lorenzo Jackson also had 51 yards rushing for the Hornets, while Godwin was 4-of-5 passing for 47 yards.
Terrell fumbled seven times and lost three. Pelham also gave away three fumbles.
Carroll, though, has his players believing that the playoffs are a reality in his first season after coming from Florida Class A power Madison County.
"These kids are starting to believe a little bit," said Carroll, whose Hornets are off this week before facing Mitchell County. "It's a building process, but it's going in the right direction."
Terrell County also has an off week before going to Stewart County.