FNL: Pinson Valley vs. Chelsea

Earnest Robinson

PINSON, Ala.: Two of metro-Birmingham's top offenses got together for a fun-filled game complete with big plays and an exciting finish at Pinson Valley's Willie Adams Stadium Friday night. When all was said and done, the team with the biggest play late in the game came out on top. PVHS scored three times in the final 12 minutes to claim a come-from-behind 35-28 in a key Class 5A, Region 5 contest.

To the categories:

Top prospect

Recruitniks around the state and Southeast already know about Pinson junior receiver Earnest Robinson (6-2, 195). FNL covered Clay-Chalkville junior DeAndre Woods a few weeks ago, and it was good to hear a Pinson Valley assistant agree that he and Robinson are as good as it gets in the 2013 receiver class in Alabama.

Indians Head Coach Matt Glover knew coming in that Robinson was only 85-90 percent healthy, having missed the better part of two games with an ankle sprain and been in a walking boot Monday of this week. Thing is, an 85-percent Robinson is much better than a 100-percent most anyone else.

"You can't guard him," said Glover. "What's good about Ernest is, you can always throw a fade to him, and you don't have to worry about it being intercepted. He's either going to catch it or knock it down. He's a playmaker."

Those words proved rather prophetic. Robinson finished the night with five catches for 63 yards and two touchdowns, from eight and 21 yards. The last one was the game-winner, with 44 seconds left. Both were on -- you guessed it -- fade routes.

"He can run, he can catch, and he can jump," said Hornets coach Wade Waldrop. "He's a player." That he is, and that's why Alabama and many others are very interested.

Seniors who shined

Coming in, Chelsea quarterback/safety Jake Ganus had thrown zero interceptions on the year. On this night, the UAB pledge tossed four picks, but still played a great game on both sides of the ball. Sound crazy? Well, he threw two touchdowns and scored two on the ground, and looked good at safety, his projected college position.

For the Indians, Lorenzo Gray runs much harder than most 5-10, 175-pounders. He pounded the Hornets defense for multiple first downs and a three-yard scoring run.

Juniors to watch

Pinson cornerback David King (6-0, 176) had the pick and 40-yard return to set up Robinson's winning catch. King also stood out on special teams with stops on both kickoff and punt coverage. His teammate, mighty mite A.J. Freeman, is a 5-3, 145-pound dynamo who raced 62-yards for six points during the fast and furious fourth quarter. Harry Mason is a good receiver at 5-9, 175. Linebacker Zach Cunningham is 6-4, 210 and plays sideline-to-sideline.

For the Hornets, an injury slowed running back Julius McCall, but the 5-10, 185-pounder is fast and will become a prospect. Corner Davis Shoemaker (5-9, 155) did an admirable job much of the night on Robinson, and got two picks and a nice break-up. Tight end Keelan Gregg (6-3, 205) is a nice blocker who caught a touchdown pass from Ganus on third-and-goal from the 1.

Super sophs

Chelsea has two. One is running back Austin Washington (6-0, 175) who caught a 42-yard touchdown and turned a second wheel route into a 41-yard gainer later. Defensive end Troy Marshall is already 6-3, 255 and had a key sack to go with several nice run-stuffs.

How 'bout them burgers

Pinson has a good burger, which came both tender and tasty. I liked the chopped onions on the condiment stand, but was dismayed there was no mayo. I had really wanted to give you a review of Ken's BBQ, but they closed too early due to running out of pork. How does that happen? I didn't help matters by making a wrong turn, but the lady on the phone made it sound like they'd been out of pork a while, so I got over it. The half-time slice of pizza from CiCi's was just OK.

Welcome back grads

It was not homecoming per se, but they called it Alumni Night at Pinson. One of the most well-known graduates couldn't make it. Former Tide football signee Desmond Jennings was busy playing outfield for the Tampa Bay Rays, who blasted Texas 9-0 in Arlington.

Up next

I'm excited to return to my hometown of Montgomery for a few reasons. One, to see the revamped press box and Cramton Bowl. Two, to see what promises to be a fine matchup between Carver and Prattville. The Wolverines feature quarterback Jeremy Johnson, perhaps the top junior at that position in Alabama. The Lions counter with athlete Justin Thomas behind center, and his key blocker Caleb Gulledge, both solid verbals to Bama. Should be a fun night on Madison Avenue.

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