October 27, 2005

Tigers Open District Play With 43-14 Rout Of Raiders

The Scotland County Tigers hoped the return of all-conference receiver Matt Wickert would spark an offense that had been shut out the past two games. The junior wideout exceeded all expectations. He made his way to the end zone the very first time he touched the ball in 2005. And helped lead SCR-I to a 43-14 victory to open district play.

Wickert, who had missed the entire 2005 season thus far with a broken collarbone, caught the Tigersí first pass of the game. But it was the run after the catch that got the Tigersí crowd on its feet as he made several elusive moves on his way to a 37-yard score.

Unfortunately a yellow flag stole Wickertís thunder as the play was called back due to an illegal procedure call on SCR-I. The penalty stalled the Tigersí first drive and SCR-I turned the ball over on downs.

After giving up several first downs on the Raiders opening possession, the Tigersí defense buckled down midway through the first period and prevented the Raiders from moving the chains on the teamís second possession.

After a Raiders punt, B.J. Houghton provided the workman-like ground attack as he pounded the ball against the North Shelby defense down to the one-yard line. Fullback Andy Cowell took it the final distance for the touchdown with 2:15 left in the first period. Kyler Hess made the point after attempt to put the Tigers on top 7-0.

SCR-I got the ball back midway through the second period after holding the Raiders on downs.

Houghton quickly put them in scoring position as he broke a 38-yard run down the left side. Marcus Shalley then hit Colby Brown on a 17-yard pass play that was stopped at the one-yard line. But the Tigers could not punch the ball in and turned it over on downs.

The SCR-I defense did the job as Houghton crashed through the Raidersí offensive line and tackled Curt Hubbard in the end zone for a safety to make the score 9-0.

The Tigers took the free kick and quickly marched downfield once again behind Houghtonís ground attack. The senior racked up 100 yards on the ground in the first half on 13 attempts.

Brown punched the ball in from one-yard out with 3:45 to go in the half to make the score 15-0.

Wickert was the key weapon to open the second half. He hauled in a pass from Shalley and went 57 yards for an apparent TD. But again the play was called back on an illegal formation call on SCR-I. Another flag backed the Tigers up further and ultimately forced a punt.

The Tigers defense refused to let North Shelby back in the game. The Raiders went three and out and Grant Blomme gave Scotland County excellent field position with a good punt return.

SCR-I went to the air with Shalley hitting Brown for a 13-yard gain. He then hooked up with Wickert for a 15-yard TD with 5:17 left in the third period. Houghton rushed the two-point conversion in to build a 23-0 lead.

Scotland County took advantage of a North Shelby fumble on the next possession to put the game out of reach. Shalley hit Wickert on a receiver screen play. The receiver did the rest as he ran through the Raidersí defense for a 30-yard TD. The junior had to be frustrated when he looked back to see a flag, but the penalty was on the Raiders and was declined. Hess made the PAT kick to put SCR-I on top 30-0.

The Tigers defense got the ball right back as Houghton pounced on another North Shelby fumble. The senior then took the ball in on a 16-yard run to produce a running clock as the Tigers led 36-0 with 11:06 left in the game.

Scotland County made it three turnovers in a row as Hess picked off a North Shelby pass.

That set up a 17-yard run by Bryce Blomme from the quarterback position. Hess made the PAT kick and SCR-I led 43-0 with 6:55 to play in the contest.

North Shelby put 14 points on the board late in the game as John Bramblett broke a 67-yard TD and quarterback Michael Cole scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak on the gameís final play to make the final margin 43-14.

The Tigersí defense got the job done, limiting North Shelby to just five first downs and 72 yards of total offense through the first three periods before the Raiders more than doubled that total late against the JV defense.

Houghton led the way with 14 tackles including the safety. Casey Parrish finished with eight stops as did Andy Cowell.

Houghton finished the game with 154 yards rushing and a TD on 20 carries. Shalley ran five times for 34 yards and Cowell and Brown each had rushing TDs. Shalley completed six of 12 passes for 87 yards and two scores. Wickert had 45 yards and two scores while Brown and Grant Blomme each had two receptions.

The win sends SCR-I to 3-4 on the year and 2-3 in conference play. The Tigers will face Schuyler County on Friday night in what likely will be the district championship match after the Rams knocked off Knox County 54-14 in the other Class 1 District 16 contest. North Shelby (1-7, 0-5) will face Knox County (0-7, 0-5) in the other district game on Friday.

In other Tri-Rivers Conference action, #4 ranked Clark County took its first step toward a Class 2 state playoff berth with a 44-28 win over Monroe City in the District 5 opener.

Putnam County, ranked #7 in Class 1, defeated the top rated team in the state, Princeton, 20-0 at Princeton to unseat the #1 team and put the Midgets one step closer to a state playoff berth as well. Putnam County still has a difficult road ahead, having to travel to Marceline this Friday to take on the #6 ranked Tigers, who blanked Milan 35-0 in the other Class 1 District 15 matchup. The winner from this district will likely face the winner of the SCR-I Schuyler County contest in the playoffs.

The Tri-Rivers Conference could have as many as four teams in the state playoffs as Brookfield opened its Class 2 district play with a 50-0 demolition of Hamilton. The Bulldogs still have to get past Macon and Trenton.

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