November 6, 2003

Tigers Overcome Sluggish Start To Advance To District Title Game

For the second straight week the Scotland County football team turned around a slow start with a dominating third period to advance to the district championship game Friday night at Edina.

After allowing North Shelby to hang around well into the second half last week, SCR-I had trouble with another winless team in the early going before showing the teamís true colors with an impressive second half performance.

Schuyler County (0-9, 0-6) actually led 12-7 in the second quarter, taking advantage of a pair of Scotland County fumbles to set up the teamís two touchdowns.

The slow start for the Tigers may have been blamed on the benching of a number of the teamís seniors for disciplinary reasons.

Schuyler County took the opening kickoff but was able to do little with the ball thanks to the Tigers defense that has been consistent all year long.

But after a Rams punt SCR-I gave the ball back just three plays later when freshman quarterback Marcus Shalley was picked off.

Schuyler County was poised to take advantage of the turnover before the Tigers defense made a big stand at the five yard line and got the ball back after stopping the Rams on fourth and goal.

The two teams traded punts and it was the later by the Rams where the visiting team got its second break when the kick was muffed by the SCR-I return man and Schuyler County recovered the fumble in excellent field position.

Jeff Jackson scored on the first play of the second period as he ran the ball in from four yards out. The point after attempt was no good leaving Schuyler County on top 6-0.

The Tigers looked like they had gotten the wake up call as the home team quickly regained the lead. Quarterback Danny Roach hit Jared Shelley with a pair of pass plays, the later covering 31 yards to put the ball at the 10-yard line. Joel Myers took the handoff and went in for the score from there. Tim Robinson made the PAT kick and SCR-I led 7-6 with 9:07 remaining in the second period.

Schuyler County did not quit. The Rams mounted a solid drive before the SCR-I defense put the brakes on and forced a punt.

The Tigers returned the favor and looked like they were marching for a second score. SCR-I converted a key fourth down play to keep the drive alive. However the momentum was stripped away on the next play when Scotland County committed its third turnover of the first half on a fumble.

The Rams went 55 yards in less than two minutes and Jackson scored on a 20-yard sweep around the left end with 44.8 seconds left in the first half. The Tigers stopped the two-point conversion and the Rams led 12-7.

But the Rams would not take the lead into halftime. SCR-I quickly moved the ball down field. Roach hit Shelley with a seven-yard pass and followed that with a 14-yard gain to Kiel Fogle. The big play came on a 40-yard pass play from Roach to Cottrell that put the ball at the four-yard line. Myers took it in from there with just seconds left in the half. Robinsonís kick was good putting the Tigers on top 14-12 at the intermission.

The third period continued to be magic for Scotland County and it didnít take long for SCR-Iís B.J. Houghton to prove it. The sophomore running back took the opening kickoff of the second half up the middle and 85 yards later was in the endzone. Robinson booted the PAT through for a 21-12 advantage with 11:47 left in the third quarter.

Linebacker Jared Shelley quickly got his team the ball back as he intercepted a Schuyler County pass at midfield on the next possession.

After a Roach pass to Cottrell moved the chains, Myers busted through the middle for the defense and sped to a 31-yard touchdown that blew the game wide open for SCR-I. Robinson split the uprights again as his kick made the score 28-12 with 7:51 left to go in the third quarter.

The defense did its job yet again as Schuyler went three and out on the next possession.

With 5:08 left in the period the Tigers were back in the endzone again as Aaron Dale broke an 18-yard touchdown run. The PAT was good and the rout was on at 35-12.

Instead of trading punts on the next two possessions, the two teams traded fake punts. Schuyler Countyís attempt failed and gave SCR-I the ball back. Scotland Countyís fake punt worked as Dale took the snap and ran for the first down. Myers and Dale combined to keep the chains moving before Roach scored his first touchdown of the year on a one-yard quarterback sneak. Robinson remained perfect on the night as his kick expanded the lead to 42-12 on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Schuyler County was able to add a touchdown midway through the fourth period to make the final score 42-18.

The Tigers improved to 5-4 on the season and 4-2 in Tri-Rivers Conference play. They will take on Knox County (4-5, 3-3) who survived a scare from North Shelby to improve to 2-0 in district play as well with a 22-16 win.

SCR-I racked up more than 200 yards on the grounds led by Myers with 149 yards on 20 attempts. Dale added 41 yards on seven attempts and Houghton had 25 yards on nine carries.

Roach completed six of 11 passes for 110 yards. Shelley caught three passes for 45 yards. Cottrell made two grabs for 51 yards.

Shelley led the defensive attack with 11 tackles and two interceptions. Travis Onken made 11 stops on the night and Aaron Dale added 10. Joe Talbert pitched in with nine tackles and Greg Neagle made seven stops.

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