October 30, 2008

Raiders Run Over Scotland County to Claim District Title

After several years on the outside looking in, North Shelby football has finally returned to the state playoffs. The Raiders (7-3, 5-2 TRC) ran over Scotland County Thursday night 42-0 to claim the district title and advance to the first round of the 32-team final bracket.

After winning three straight district crowns (2002-2004) the Tigers failed to advance to the post season for the fourth consecutive season.

SCR-I (1-9, 0-7) saw its hopes dashed early, as the Raiders scored in the games opening minutes. The Tigers took the opening kickoff, but turned the ball over deep in their own territory. North Shelby took just one snap on offense to put points on the scoreboard as Josh McEwen scored on a five-yard run with 10:09 left in the first period.

After the inauspicious start, the Tigers settled down and kept the contest close in the first period.

SCR-I went three and out on offense, but the defense got the job done after the punt. Bradley Hamner made a key stop in the backfield before Logan Brassfield, Harley Stone and Will See combined to stuff North Shelbyís third down run attempt and force a punt.

The Tigers went three and out on offense, punting the ball back to the Raiders. The ensuing drive ate up the remainder of the first period.

The Raiders made it 14-0 when Ryan Henderson connected with Josh McEwen on a 41-yard touchdown pass with 10:42 left in the second period. Jesse Christopher made the PAT kick.

The Tigers failed to make a first down in the first half.

North Shelby capitalized on Scotland Countyís inability to move the chains. Faced with a fourth and five at midfield, North Shelby went for it, catching Scotland County off guard and ultimately picking up the first down. Two plays later McEwen took a reverse the distance as he ran 34-yards to pay dirt. The PAT made it 21-0 with 3:33 on the clock.

North Shelby wasnít done. The Raiders managed the clock and left just enough time for another score after the defense forced SCR-I to go three and out and punt.

Henderson passed the Raiders down field into scoring position. He scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak with just 4.8 ticks left on the clock. The PAT made it 28-0. North Shelby limited the Tigers to 16 yards of total offense in the first half.

North Shelby looked posed to put the game away early in the third period. Daniel Jones broke a 48 yard run that quickly put the Raiders in scoring position. But the Tigers defense held. Justin Winn, Hamner and Stone all converged on Henderson for a key sack. Brandon Eggers made another stop in the backfield that ultimately ended the threat.

But the Raiders went right back to work after another three and out by the Tigers.

This time North Shelby would not be denied as Jones marched the ball down the field. Jones scored on a five-yard run with 5:59 left in the third period to make it 35-0 and insure the clock would run non-stop under the Missouri mercy rule.

The Tigers offense finally came to life late in the third period. Kyle Shelley returned to quarterback and he connected with Caleb Kittle on a 23-yard pass play. The drive stalled but Shelley was able to pick up 15 yards on a fake punt run that put the Tigers in scoring position. But the drive ended at the start of the fourth period when SCR-I fumbled.

The Tigers got the ball right back when Winn forced a fumble on defense that was recovered by Shelley.

The turnover carousel continued however as the Tigers fumbled the ball right back to North Shelby.

The two squads turned the contest over to the junior varsity players in the fourth period. North Shelby tacked on another late touchdown as Zach Caldwell scored on a seven-yard run to make it 42-0 with 57 seconds left to play.

The Raiders amassed 16 first downs on the night. Jones finished with 17 carries for 123 yards. Caldwell racked up 62 yards on seven attempts in the fourth period. Henderson completed five of eight pass attempts for 109 yards. McEwen ran the ball eight times for 52 yards and two TDs. He also caught a pair of passes for 63 yards and a TD.

Scotland County finished with four first downs on the night. The Tigers were limited to 84 yards of total offense. Kittle carried the ball 12 times for seven yards. Shelley had seven attempts for 25 yards. He completed three of six passes for 44 yards. Brandon Garnett had two receptions while Kittle and Drew Miller had the other grabs.

Shelley led the SCR-I defense with 10 tackles on the night. Garnett finished with eight stops.

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