October 30, 2003

Tigers Take First Step Toward District Title Game With Victory Over Raiders

Area football fans are looking forward to a season finale that, by most accounts, is expected to decide the district title when Knox County hosts Scotland County November 7.

But in order to make it to the title game SCR-I has to dispatch North Shelby and Schuyler County.

Early on in Friday nightís contest at North Shelby it appeared that SCR-I might already be looking toward that big game as the winless Raiders gave the Tigers all they could handle for more than a half.

Much of the Tigers problems were of their own making as SCR-I committed a season high six penalties for 60 yards. Compounding the yellow flags were the fact that the miscues also nullified another 100+ yards of offense as a 50-yard run by Jared Shelley, a long pass play from Danny Roach to Carl Wittstock and a lengthy punt return by Aaron Dale all were called back on SCR-I penalties.

Turnovers also impaired the Tigers. Roach was picked off on the first play of the game. A fumble ended another Tigers drive at the two-yard line.

The Tigers defense didnít seem bothered by all the problems. They allowed just one first down the entire first half.

Scotland County scored the lone touchdown of the first half with 5:33 left on the clock in the first quarter. It was the Tigers second possession of the game.

After taking over on the North Shelby punt the Tigers put together a long drive. Joel Myers started it off with a pair of solid runs, a sign of things to come. Roach then connected with Wittstock to move the chains again. Dale picked up a first down with a good run before Roach hit Shelley with a 17-yard pass to put the ball at the 10-yard line. Myers took it in from there. Tim Robinson continued his march toward post-season kicking honors by nailing the PAT to make the score 7-0.

The offense and defense continued to look good for the Tigers. Unfortunately the team shot itself in the foot with penalties and turnovers that ended a pair of drives less than 10-yards away from scores.

The Tigers got their wake up call at the start of the second half. North Shelby moved standout Scott Ratliff from tailback to quarterback and tossed a new wrinkle at SCR-I with three wideouts.

The move worked as North Shelby took the kick off to start the third period and marched down field for a touchdown. Ratcliff completed four straight pass plays and then capped off the drive with a three-yard TD run. However the senior missed the PAT kick leaving his team trailing 7-6 with 8:40 left in the third period.

That may have been all Scotland County needed as the Tigers took over from there.

SCR-I wasted little time adding to the slim margin. Myers broke a 41-yard touchdown run as he cut to the outside of the defense and sped down the far sideline for his longest run of the season.

Robinsonís kick made the score 14-6 less than two minutes after the Raiders score.

Quick points were the theme in the third period as the Tigers scored four more times in the quarter.

The defense set up the second touchdown. Myers delivered the pressure on the quarterback as he waylaid Ratcliff as he let go of a pass attempt that ultimately ended up in the hands of Tigers safety Clint Cottrell.

The ground attack of Myers and Dale quickly ate up the yards on the way to Myersí second touchdown of the night with 2:18 left in the quarter.

North Shelby bobbled the ensuing kickoff and that left them pinned inside the 10-yard line. Joe Talbert made a key stop that forced North Shelby to try to punt from the Raiders own endzone. The snap sailed over punter Trey Millionís head and out of the endzone for a safety for the Tigers making the score 23-6.

With less than a minute in the quarter SCR-I fielded the free kick by the Raiders and got a good return from B. J. Houghton near midfield. Myers broke a 33-yard run that set up Aaron Dale for a touchdown run with 33 seconds left in the quarter. Robinsonís PAT kick extended the lead to 30-6.

The defense continued to get the job done for Scotland County. The Raiders made one last drive to start the fourth period. But Houghton and Myers sandwiched Ratcliff for a quarterback sack that pinned North Shelby deep. On the next play Cottrell made his second interception to end any hopes of a Raiders rally.

With just over six minutes left to play Coach Brent Bondurant called Myersí number one final time on the night as he went over the 200-yard mark for the first time this season.

After that Bondurant turned the reigns over to the junior varsity offense. The second team did not let up for the Tigers and moved the ball down the field to eat of the remainder of the clock.

The win improves Scotland County to 4-4 on the year and 3-2 in conference play. North Shelby dropped to 0-8 and 0-5 in the conference. The Raiders take on Knox County this week while Schuyler County will come to Tiger Stadium for week two of district play.

The Tigers defense once again had a solid performance led by Cottrell who had seven tackles and two interceptions. Dale, Talbert and Greg Neagle were also tackles leaders for the Tigers. They held Ratcliff to 58 yards on 20 rushing attempts. He completed six of 10 passes for 71 yards. Overall North Shelby managed just 73 yards rushing and only 149 yards of total offense.

Myers topped the offensive numbers finishing the night with 204 yards and three touchdowns on just 20 carries. Dale had 48 yards and a TD on seven attempts and also had a big game returning punts. Robinson got seven carries for 39 yards while Houghton added 32 yards on seven attempts as the Tigers rushed for more than 340 yards on the night.

Roach completed six of 11 passes on the night. He covered 73 yards and was picked off once. Shelley was the top target with three grabs for 39 yards. Cottrell had two catches for 20 yards while Wittstock caught one pass for 14 yards.

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