Grant McRobert puts pressure on South Shelby’s Brock Wood on one of just three pass attempts by the Cardinals in the district semifinals game in Memphis.

Scotland County was unable to overcome a slow start and powerless to halt South Shelby quarterback Brock Wood most of the contest Friday night in Memphis as the 2018 football season came to a close for the Tigers in a 46-28 defeat at the hand of the Cardinals.

The two teams went about their business in totally opposite fashion, as the Cardinals racked up 363 yards of rushing and only attempted three passes on the evening. Scotland County threw the ball for 232 yards while being held to a season low three yards rushing.

The Tigers took the opening kickoff but went three and out, failing to gain any momentum.

Scotland County’s defense looked  ready to defend against Wood and the Cardinals, backing South Shelby up on its first two rushing attempts. But on third down and 10 to go, Wood broke free for a 26-yard gain. It proved to be a theme on the night, as South Shelby was able to get out of third and long situations to keep drives alive. The Cardinals converted on seven of 12 third down situations and were three of four on fourth down tries.

Wood scored three plays later on a 15-yard run and added the two-point conversion to give South Shelby an 8-0 lead with 8:41 left in the first quarter.

SCR-I stumbled on its next possession as well, literally. The Tigers were backed up by a fumbled handoff as the running back slipped before taking the ball, and SCR-I again went three and out with a punt.

South Shelby demoralized Tiger Stadium with a 22-play drive that ate up nearly a quarter of play. Mason Kliethermes tackled Wood for a loss to back up the Cardinals, but the quarterback responded with a 21-yard run. Faced with a third and 14, Wood did it again, moving the chains with a 15-yard run. SCR-I appeared to have the Cardinals stopped, but Guy Timbrook converted on a fourth down run. Scotland County turned South Shelby back three times from inside the five yard line before Wood finally scored on a fourth and goal with a six-yard run. He ran in the two point conversion to extend the lead to 16-0 with 8:54 left in the second quarter.

Will Fromm (12), Jaydan Payne (31) and Grant McRobert corral South Shelby’s Brock Wood in the backfield for a loss.

The game looked ready to slip away from the Tigers, but on third and long, Will Fromm connected with Alex Long on a 64-yard bomb to quickly turn the tides. Fromm connected with Matthew Wood on the two-point conversion to make it a 16-8 game with 7:72 left in the second quarter.

The Tigers then recovered an onside kick attempt, but the momentum was stripped away by flags on the play that gave the Cardinals the ball.

The Tigers’ defense forced the lone South Shelby punt of the night, but SCR-I went three and out with a punt of its own.

South Shelby marched into scoring position and Scotland County’s defense again turned away the Cardinals three times from inside the five before Wood scored on a one yard run on fourth down. Daniel Burke ran in the two-point conversion to push the lead to 24-8 with 1:29 left in the first half.

That proved more than enough time for the Tigers to put one final drive together. Fromm found Jaydan Payne for a 31-yard completion and then hit Alex Long with a 12-yard pass play. The senior signal caller then did it with his legs, breaking a 19-yard run. Fromm scored on a one-yard sneak with 31 seconds left in the half. A Fromm pass to Parker Triplett was good on the two-point conversion to make the score 24-16 heading into the half.

Alex Long picked off a last second South Shelby pass to end the half.

The Cardinals took the opening kickoff of the second half and mounted a nine-play scoring drive. Wood again performed his fourth down magic, breaking an 18-yard touchdown run on fourth and six with 6:56 left in the third period to push the lead to 32-16.

Kaden Anders hauls down the South Shelby runner for a loss during first half action.

Wood got the job done on defense as well. The South Shelby senior intercepted a pass on the Tigers’ next possession and the Cardinals pretty much put the game away five plays later when Burke scored on a five yard run to make the score 38-16 with 2:10 left in the third quarter.

Wood was finished however. He scored on a 21-yard run to start the fourth period and extend South Shelby’s lead to 46-16 with 11:13 left to play.

Scotland County didn’t go quietly however. Payne gave the team good field position with a 24 yard kick return. Fromm then connected with Kaden Anders for a 20 yard pass splay. He hit Alex Long for a 10-yard completion and then found Hayden Long on an eight yard pass. Fromm ran the ball in from two yards out. Fromm hit Hayden Long for the two-point conversion to make the score 46-22 with 9:16 left to play.

SCR-I finally got  fourth down stop on Woods as Kliethermes ran down the quarterback to force a turnover on downs.

That set up the final score of the game as the Tigers put together a 16-play drive, converting on a pair of fourth downs, including the scoring play, a five yard pass from Fromm to Payne with just 47 seconds left to play to make the final margin 46-28.

Wood was a workhorse for South Shelby, carrying the ball 38 times for 299 yards and five touchdowns. He completed one of two passes for 23 yards.

The pounding run game kept the Tigers’ defense on the field for 70 snaps. Branton Burrus had a huge night for the defenders, amassing 20 tackles, including several big hits. Payne closed out his career with 18 tackles and fellow senior Kliethermes had 12 stops.

Fromm completed 16 of 33 passes for 232 yards and two TDs. He added two short TD runs. Freshman Alex Long had five catches for 107 yards and a TD. Anders caught five passes for 72 yards and Payne made four grabs for 43 yards and a TD.

SCR-I ran the ball 13 times for just three total yards.

The Tigers finished the 2018 season with an 8-3 mark. South Shelby advances to the district championship game at Westran. The Hornets beat Mark Twain 39-7.