Gage Dodge boots a 29-yard field goal that trimmed the South Shelby lead to 6-3 late in the first quarter of Friday night’s loss to the Cardinals.

Friday the 13th proved particularly unlucky for the Scotland County football program as South Shelby came to town and amassed more than 560 yards of offense en route to a 54-16 victory that saw the Tigers fall in the final district standings heading into the playoffs on Friday.

There was nothing too alarming in the first period, as SCR-I trailed just 6-3. But the Cardinals took flight in quarter number two, scoring 20 straight points as the Tigers could not stop the ground game. Scotland County rallied in the third period, tossing a shutout while trimming the lead to 34-16, but the Cardinals put the final 20 points of the game on the scoreboard in the fourth period to take the 54-16 win.

The Tigers took the game’s opening kickoff and mounted a 10-play drive that crossed midfield. A fake punt attempt was unable to pick up the 16 yards necessary for a first down and South Shelby took over on downs at the 44 yard line.

Two plays later the Cardinals were in the end zone as Brock Wood broke a 47-yard touchdown run to give South Shelby a 6-0 lead with 7:26 left in the opening quarter. SCR-I stopped the two-point conversion.

Scotland County appeared to answer right back. Will Fromm connected with Gage Dodge on a 26-yard pass play. Fromm then hit Brett Monroe with a 31-yard pass play to convert on fourth down and give SCR-I the ball first and goal at the four-yard line. After two runs went backwards, SCR-I found the end zone when Dodge broke a pair of tackles on a screen pass to get past the goal line. Unfortunately the play was nullified by a penalty and SCR-I was forced to settle for a 29-yard field goal by Dodge to make the score 6-3 with 2:24 left in the first period.

South Shelby answered with an eight-play drive. Wood had a 20-yard run and Cody McKenzie added a 12-yard pickup before Wood capped off the drive with a 15-yard run. SCR-I again turned away the two-point try to keep the South Shelby lead at 12-3 with 10:18 left in the second period.

SCR-I went three and out on offense and the Cardinals were in the end zone again just four plays later as Wood broke a 59-yard TD run. He added the two-point run to extend South Shelby’s lead to 20-3 with 7:21 left in the first half.

South Shelby took advantage of another SCR-I three-and-out on offense, wasting no time after the Tigers’ punt to extend the lead to 26-3. McKenzie took the first hand off of the drive and eluded the SCR-I defense en route to an 81-yard TD run.

Scotland County was able to answer with a scoring drive. Fromm got the ball rolling as he scrambled up the middle for a 38-yard gain. The junior signal caller made an incredible play on the next snap. In the grasp of a pair of South Shelby blitzers he was able to make a two-handed chest pass to Dodge in the backfield , who turned it into a 19-yard gain. Three plays later Dodge took the direct snap in the Wildcat formation and broke through the Cardinals’ defensive line for a four-yard TD run. Dodge added the PAT kick to trim the lead to 26-10 with 3:09 left in the first half.

Gage Dodge heads toward the end zone for a touchdown.

The Tigers tried an onside kick but South Shelby recovered. The Cardinals then marched 53-yards in just six plays as Wood scored his fourth touchdown of the first half, breaking a 23-yard TD run with 1:18 left in the first half. McKenzie ran in the two-point conversion to make the score 34-10.

That left enough time for SCR-I to mount one final drive of the first half. A pass interference penalty on South Shelby moved the ball across midfield before Fromm connected with Jace Morrow and Jaydan Payne for completions to move the chains. But with the ball at the 31-yard line and just three seconds left on the clock, South Shelby was able to intercept a pass in the end zone as time expired.

Scotland County’s defense made two fourth down stops to end Cardinals’ drives in the third period. Unfortunately SCR-I went three and out on its first possession of the second half and failed on a fourth down attempt of its own.

The Tigers defense produced its third stop when Branton Burrus chased down Kanon McKenzie in the backfield for a sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by Mason Kliethermes.

Stephen Terrill stuffs the South Shelby run.

On the next play, receiver Brett Monroe made a double move on his route on the outside, appearing to break off his route to curl in for a potential pass, only to spin and break free behind the defender who had broke up to cover him. Fromm dropped a perfect pass in over the defender and Monroe took it to the end zone for a 53-yard touchdown. The PAT was no good, leaving South Shelby’s lead at 34-16 with 58 seconds left in the third period.

SCR-I kept the momentum as Dodge dribbled a perfect onside kick toward the sideline and Fromm was able to grab a high bounce out of midair.

But just like the clock striking midnight on Cinderella, the scoreboard clock burned up the final seconds of the period and the scoreboard changed to the fourth quarter. Everything shifted to South Shelby at that point as the Cardinals intercepted a pass on the first play of the fourth period and went on to score 20 unanswered points.

Wood finished with 322 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 25 carries. McKenzie added 188 yards and two scores on 13 tries.

Kaden Anders breaks through for a good kick return.

Fromm completed eight of 27 passes for 172 yards and a TD. He ran the ball nine times for 54 yards. Dodge was held to 28 yards and a TD on 12 rushes. Monroe had three catches for 93 yards and a TD. Dodge caught three passes for 48 yards.

Payne led the SCR-I defense with 15 tackles. Terrill finished with nine tackles and Burrus had eight stops and the sack and forced fumble.

The loss dropped Scotland County to 5-4 on the year and allowed South Shelby to leap frog from the #4 seed all the way up to the #2 seed in the Class 1 District 5 tourney that starts Friday.

Now the #3 seed, SCR-I will host# 6 seed Schuyler County on October 20th in the district opener. The Tigers bested the Rams 31-8 on September 8th in Queen City.