Nevermind record, Pinson Valley offense has weapons
Hartselle has never met Pinson Valley on the football field, but the top-ranked Tigers will face a team that has had more than its share of ups and downs through 10 weeks of play.
Pinson Valley, the fourth seed from Class 5A, Region 5 will battle the 9-1 Tigers Friday night at 7 p.m. in the first round of the AHSAA state playoffs.
And the Indians are sure to bring a mixed bag of tricks into the playoffs.
Pinson Valley has gone through some struggles in the second half of the season, dropping four of its final five regular season games to just edge out Erwin for the fourth and final playoff spot from Region 5.
The Indians opened the season with high hopes and looked ready to step up to challenge region power Briarwood for the championship this season after jumping out to a 4-1 mark after opening the season with a loss.
But Pinson Valley has struggled in recent weeks both offensively and defensively.
The Indians have averaged just 14.8 points per game over the last five weeks – a stark contrast to the team’s gaudy 37.2 average in the first five weeks.
Pinson Valley’s offense has showed signs of regaining its early season form recently. Kaleb Harris completed 20 of 39 pass attempts last week for 171 yards in the Indians’ loss to Class 6A Oak Mountain.
Harris threw a touchdown to Earnest Robinson for the Indians’ only points of the night. Harry Mason had six catches for 79 yards in the loss.
While Harris put the ball in the air almost 40 times last week, the Indians have also had plenty of success running the football too. Two weeks ago, running back Lorenzo Gray ran for 267 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries to lead Pinson Valley to a win over Shelby County to earn the fourth and final playoff spot from Region 5.
Pinson Valley is making its first appearance in the state playoffs since the 2007 season. In 10 previous playoff appearances, the Indians have managed to get past the first round just twice. Pinson Valley has never reached the quarterfinals in school history.
On the other side of the field, the Indians will face a team filled with playoff experience. Hartselle has been a consistent playoff qualifier, reaching post-season play nine times since 2001 and have won 10 playoff games during that stretch.
In the past two seasons, Hartselle has played in six playoffs games and have reached the quarterfinals both years.
The winner of Friday’s first round game will face the Cullman-Chelsea winner in the second round.