Defense carries Wildcats: Shelby County tops St. Clair in Herrings debut

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Coach Ryan Herring and the Shelby County Wildcats opened their 2006 season on the road Friday with a 13-6 win over St. Clair County.

The victory marked Herring&8217;s first as a head coach.

The Wildcat offense, under the direction of senior quarterback Aaron Howard, accumulated 180 yards on the ground and 78 yards through the air. Howard finished the night with 98 yards rushing and 78 yards passing, completing 9 of 12 attempts.

Fullback Kevin Stafford scored the Wildcats&8217; first touchdown on the night with an 8-yard run, finishing the night with 48 yards on 11 carries.

Tyrone Buie added additional support for the SCHS offense, scoring from two yards out on a toss sweep from Howard.

SCHS went into the half leading 13-0.

Penalties served as the nemesis for the Wildcats as they racked up nine penalties totaling 75 yards, including two roughing the passer penalties and one late hit, where St. Clair was charged with a mere two penalties for 25 yards.

&8220;The offense executed real well and Aaron ran the ball real well for us,&8221; Herring said, when talking about the overall performance of his offense.

Aside from the penalties, Herring noted that most miscues made were correctable by coaching and that adjustments would be made this week.

Defensively, the Wildcats were able to contain a versatile Saint offense that could pose a threat at any time.

Herring described the defense as &8220;hard hitting and physical&8221; with an occasional big hit resulting in helmets flying off.

A big stop came for SCHS when Michael Trice came up with a crucial interception on their own 2-yard line to stop a Saint offensive drive.

Linebacker Richard Sutton anchored the Wildcat defense, leading Shelby County in tackles.

When asked how it felt to get his first win as a head coach, Herring described it in one word &045; huge.

&8220;I&8217;m proud for the kids and that they played real hard, as well as a good coaching job by all of the coaching staff,&8221; Herring said. &8220;It was a physical four-quarter game.&8221;

With the win, SCHS looks to carry momentum into next week&8217;s home game against the Bibb County Choctaws at Papa McCombs Stadium, as 5A Region 3 play begins.

The Choctaws, coming off a 19-8 win over Greensboro, will bring with them a familiar face to the SCHS faithful in Bruce Breland.

Breland, after a two-year stint at SCHS, left the team for undisclosed reasons and accepted the offensive coordinator position at Bibb County, serving under new head coach Darryl Burns