Citronelle ends Wildcats’ season

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Shelby County head coach Bruce Breland not only led his Wildcats to the playoffs in his first season but he also led the Wildcats to the playoffs in their first season in Class 5A, falling just short in the first round at Citronelle on Friday, 17-15.

The Wildcats scored all 15 points in the second half to take a lead 15-14, but failed to capitalize on a late interception.

Citronelle blocked a late Shelby County field goal, returning the ball inside the Shelby County 20-yard line. Citronelle’s Jerrit Skanes nailed a 27-yard field goal with 15 seconds remaining to seal the Wildcat’s fate.

&uot;(Our team) couldn’t have given a greater effort,&uot; Breland said. &uot;They deserved to win that game.&uot;

Breland gave plenty of praise to the Citronelle defense, but he was also quick to praise his own defense.

&uot;(Our defense) had to rise to the occasion because Citronelle was so big up front,&uot; Breland said. &uot;They’ve been our mainstay all season and they are something we can hang our hats on.&uot;

Offensively, the Wildcats were led by senior standout Brandon Burns with his six catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns. Burns, who is Shelby County’s leading receiver, also had an interception in the fourth quarter.

&uot;Brandon has been outstanding all year and he is an unselfish player,&uot; Breland said. &uot;He’s going to make a play and he’s made plays every game he’s played.&uot;

Sophomore quarterbacks Aaron Howard and Josh Dikis combined for 98 yards on 10-of-20 passing and a touchdown apiece.

Leading the Wildcat’s defense against Citronelle, like he did all season, was senior Marc Lemley.

Lemley, Shelby County’s second-leading tackler, is undersized for a linebacker but what he lacks in size, he makes up for with heart, Breland said.

&uot;Marc shows you don’t have to be the biggest or strongest kid on the field to compete,&uot; Breland said. &uot;You can’t replace a Marc Lemley, you can only fill his position.&uot;

Breland said his team came a long way since the start of the season and he knows the schedule the Wildcats played will help make them a better team.

&uot;I think we built a lot of confidence to play at this level,&uot; Breland said.

Breland also pointed out his team’s only four losses came when Homewood was ranked No, 1, Briarwood No. 2, Benjamin Russell No. 3 and Citronelle No. 4.

&uot;If that doesn’t build confidence, I don’t know what will,&uot; Breland said