October 31, 2002
Tigers Take First Step Toward Playoffs With Win Over Raiders
The Scotland County Tigers took the first step in extending the football season into the state playoffs with a 34-0 victory over North Shelby Friday night in front of the home Memphis crowd.
Cold and rainy conditions couldn't slow the Tigers down as they ran all over the Raiders. The SCR-I defense limited the Raiders to less than 150 yards of total offense. Constant pressure teamed with some hard hitting saw the North Shelby squad go through three different quarterbacks on the evening.
The bad news for the Tigers was the loss of their own quarterback, Curtis Cochran, who injured his knee on a long running play. The senior returned to the game after a couple plays on the sidelines but sat out much of the second half to rest the injury.
Injuries and a trio of Tigers turnovers were the lone negatives in what was an impressive team performance. SCR-I offset its miscues by intercepting three North Shelby passes on the evening.
North Shelby looked good opening the game behind a strong running game from tailback Trey Million. The Raiders ate up much of the first period before the Tigers defense made its stand. On fourth down and long Joel Myers and Michael Lodewegen sacked Raiders quarterback Scott Ratliff to end the drive.
The Tigers took over and marched down the field with Myers and Eric Long eating up the yards on the ground. SCR-I went to the air to pick up a big first down when Cochran found Chase Moore for a good gain. The Tigers kept the drive alive with a fake punt as Cochran took the snap and ran for 11 yards. But the next pass from Cochran was picked off at the one-yard line to end the Tigers 62-yard drive.
Scotland County did the job on defense keeping North Shelby pinned deep and forcing a Raiders punt to open the second period.
The Tigers took advantage of the good field position and mounted another impressive drive. Kiel Fogle moved the chains with a nice run. Long and Myers continued to pound away with the ground attack. The passing game contributed when Cochran hit Danny Roach with a pass across the middle. The junior receiver made a nice run after the catch to pick up some extra yardage.
With 5:47 left in the second period Myers capped off the long march with a four yard TD run. After an SCR-I penalty, Cochran hit Aaron Dale with an eight-yard pass for the two-point conversion to make the score 8-0.
The Tigers kept the pressure on as two plays later safety Clint Cottrell picked off the Ratliff pass a returned it 35 yards all the way to the nine. In his first game back after a knee injury, the junior was rewarded for his defensive efforts when he got the call on offense. Cottrell made a diving catch on the next play to haul in the nine-yard TD pass from Cochran. The two-point attempt failed. Scotland County led 14-0 with 4:43 left in the first period.
Clint Cottrell returns one of two interceptions he had helping the Tigers to victory in the opening round of district play October 25 against North Shelby.
North Shelby was able to move the ball past midfield on the next possession before turning the ball over on downs with 1:28 left on the clock.
The Tigers looked content to run out the clock before Myers broke a run up the middle. The powerful runner smashed through two would-be tacklers and rumbled down field for 59 yards before finally being drug down from behind.
That proved crucial as North Shelby then came up with its second interception of the game. Freshman linebacker Justin Smoot stepped in to snatch a pass across the middle and he scampered down the sidelines before Cochran wrestled him out of bounds 55-yards later.
But the Tigers defense made a huge stand, stopping four attempts by the Raiders to score from inside the 10-yard line as time ran out on the first half.
Scotland County started the second half with the ball. The SCR-I ground game continued its strong performance as Myers and Long moved the chains down the field. The big play came by accident when Cochran fumbled the snap. The senior scooped up the loose ball and ran up the gut. He turned on the speed and broke through the defense and angled towards the sideline on his way to the endzone before being forced out of bounds at the one-yard line. Cochran was injured on the play and had to leave the game.
Roach took over at quarterback and he gave the ball to Long who scored his first rushing touchdown of the year on a one-yard run. The two-point conversion failed. SCR-I led 20-0 with 9:41 to play in the third period.
Eric Long looks for some running room behind the blocks of Brett Masden and Aaron Dale. Long scored a TD and was the Tigers second leading rusher in the team's victory over North Shelby October 25.
The Tigers defense made back-to-back stands on the next series. Travis Onken had a big game for the Tigers, recording his second sack of the contest forcing a North Shelby punt. The kick was fumbled by Scotland County and the Raiders took over in good field position, keeping the SCR-I defense on the field.
Cottrell took care of that problem when he came up with his second interception of the game, returning it to the 32-yard line.
Cochran reentered the game to lead the Tigers down field once again. Faced with a fourth down and long yardage, Cochran rolled out to the left side and hit Aaron Dale with a pass to pick up the necessary yardage.
Myers and Long pounded the ball at the Raiders defense before Cochran scored on a one-yard touchdown run. Dale made the extra point kick to expand the lead to 27-0 with 3:01 remaining in the third period.
A pounding performance by the SCR-I defense saw North Shelby turn to its second and then third string quarterbacks for much of the second half. The defensive pressure did not let up as the Raiders turned the ball over on downs as time ran out in the third quarter.
Roach took over the reigns to open the final period. The team marched down field as Jared Shelley took over at tailback and started racking up the yards. A couple of penalties looked to stall the drive but Roach connected with Shelley on a big pass play to pick up the first down before the drive ultimately ran out of gas.
North Shelby took over on downs but didn't keep the ball long as Moore came up with the third interception for the SCR-I defense.
Less than a minute later SCR-I cashed in on the turnover. Roach hit Jason Findling on a quick out pattern. The junior receiver broke through a tackle and then sprinted for the endzone for the 35-yard touchdown. Dale made the PAT kick to increase the margin to 34-0 with 4:52 left in the game.
The two teams turned the rest of the game over to the junior varsity squads to run out the clock on the big win for SCR-I.
Myers continued his strong running performances of late with his second straight 100-yard game. He took the ball 18 times for 138 yards and a TD. Long had 42 yards and a score on nine attempts. Shelley carried the ball eight times for 49 yards.
Cochran completed five of 13 passes for 60 yards and a TD and was intercepted twice. He ran the ball three times for 59 yards and a touchdown. Roach was 2-3 passing for 43 yards and a score.
Dale caught two passes for 29 yards while Shelley, Roach, and Moore each had receptions. Findling and Cottrell both caught TD passes in the game.
Onken led another big team defensive performance. He had 11 tackles. Shelley finished with nine tackles while Dale finished with eight stops. Cottrell had two picks and Moore added the third INT for the Tigers.
The Raiders amassed just 118 yards of total offense. The rushing attack managed just 75 yards on the ground while the air attack was even less effective with only 43 yards.
Scotland County improved to 4-4 on the regular season and moved to 3-2 in conference play. More importantly the team is 1-0 in district play heading into game two of the playoff schedule to face Schuyler County. The Rams are 0-1 in district play after losing to Knox County.