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No. 3 Pinson Valley advances with 45-0 victory over Arab

Brant Berry | PrepsNet

Pinson, AL – The 6A Region champion Pinson Valley Indians  (8-2, 6-0) punched their ticket to the second round of the AHSAA playoffs in impressive fashion shutting out the Arab Arabian Knights 45-0 Friday night at Willie Adams Stadium. 

The first round matchup pitted a pair of former University of Alabama standout defensive backs against each other in Arab head coach Lee Ozmint and Pinson Valley’s Sam Shade.  Shade started on the Crimson Tide’s 1992 national championship squad before being drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals.  Ozmint was a three-year starter for the Tide under Bill Curry before earning All-SEC honors in 1998. 

The visitors from Marshall County held the Indians in check on their first two possessions, forcing Pinson to turn the ball over on downs on their first drive and holding them to a three-and-out on their second.  

The Indian offense came to life with just over three minutes to play in the first quarter, putting the ball in the endzone on back-to-back drives.  The first, a 28 yard scamper courtesy of running back Michael Sharpe followed by Kool-Aid McKinistry’s first scoring reception, this one from 35 yards out.  McKinistry added a catch from just inside the Arab 10 midway through the second frame followed by a 30 yard Zaylen McCray fieldgoald with 0:15 seconds left in the quarter to carry a 24-0 lead into the locker room.  

The Arabian Knights came out firing after the break, driving inside the Valley 10 before a fumble handed the ball back to the Indians.  After the turnover Pyron and company marched the length of the field extending the Pinson lead to 31 on a 13 yard Jaquel Fells touchdown run. 

McKinstry scored another pair of touchdowns, one on each side of the ball, before in the end of the third quarter to put the first round contest on ice at 45-0. 

Pinson Valley signal caller Zach Pyron finished the night with 290 yards and three touchdowns through the air, completing 17-of-28 passes while adding 45 yards on the ground.  Alabama commit Ga’Quincy McKinstry was Pyron’s favorite target connecting on five catches for 115 yards and three scores.  The five star defensive back snagged a second half pick-six returning it 85 yards into the endzone.  Michael Sharpe lead the Indians on the ground with 68 yards on 10 attempts and a score. 

Standout running back Matthew Turnage capped his Arabian Knight career with 73 yards on 24 attempts and pulled down a pair of receptions for eight yards.  Sophomore quarterback Aidan Cox completed 9-of-14 passes for 70 yards while fellow sophomore Spencer Strickland pulled down three catches for 62 yards.

The Indians will travel 15 miles south next Friday night to take on the Shades Valley Mounties for the right to advance to the 6A quarterfinals.  The trip will be Pinson Valley’s second trip to Irondale in 2020, the Indians knocked off the Mounties 31-21 in week two of the regular season. 

Arab closed out Lee Ozmint’s second season at the helm of the Knights program at 5-6, 2-4 in region play.  Their 2020 campaign was highlighted by wins over 7A Albertville, local rivals Boaz and Brewer and region victories over Southside-Gadsden and Pell City.   The Knights were making their first playoff appearance since 2016 and only their ninth postseason birth in program history.