Raiders unable to hold back South Choctaw
By RICKY RUSTON / For the Reporter
MONTEVALLO – A feisty Shelby Academy Raider team gave the visiting South Choctaw Rebels all they could handle Friday night before falling, 27-13.
The last time the Raiders and the Rebels squared off, it was on the grand stage of the AISA at the 2006 State Championship game with the Raiders taking home the hardware, making this year’s match up an old-fashioned grudge match.
The Raiders (3-4, 2-3) found a way to strike first after a fumble recovery by Jeremy Ogles at the Rebel 45-yard line.
Senior Raider quarterback Brad Lovoy took the reigns of the offense and watched fellow teammate Brandon Horton bolt to the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown run.
After Chad King’s point after attempt, the Raiders held the lead, 7-0.
On the Rebels ensuing possession, the Raider defense came up big again when Joseph “Jo Jo” Tidmore picked off a Rebel pass to put his team knocking at the door again.
The Raiders orchestrated an eight-play scoring drive with Lovoy at the helm and he connected with Brandon Horton on a 3-yard scoring toss.
After the missed point-after attempt, the Raiders had stunned the visiting Rebels 13-0.
As the second quarter opened, the Rebels made a gutsy fourth and 7 call and it paid off when Chase Nordon hit Jacob Sullivan in stride for a 46-yard scoring strike.
After Paul Glosson’s extra point, the Rebels were back in the game, trailing 13-7.
The Rebel offense found their switch and flipped it in the second half, scoring on the opening drive with Matt Phillips muscling his way in from the 2-yard line.
The Raiders’ defense partially blocked Glosson’s point after, but it still sailed over the post for the 14-13 lead.
Faced with fourth and 16 from the Raider 49-yard line, the Rebels caught the defense off guard with a fake punt that reeled off 46 yards with Nordon connecting with Tyler Fulcher.
Two plays later, Nordon called his own number on a 3-yard quarterback sneak.
Just like that, the Rebels flipped the momentum with a 21-13 lead going in to the fourth quarter.
Trailing by eight halfway through the fourth, the Raiders made the call to go for it on fourth and five from their own 44-yard line and Lovoy slipped on the rollout and the Rebels took over on downs.
The good field position for the Rebels resulted in another touchdown pass from Nordon when he connected with Cody Mcllwain from the 6-yard line to put the game away.
It was a match of David versus Goliath at first glance, but the Raiders kept fighting till the end and never gave up.
“Our guys came out tonight and played their hearts out,” Raider head coach Shannon Jones said. “They came out in the second half and began to shut our stuff down.”
“They are a great football team with a lot more depth than we have, but I am proud of the way our guys played tonight,” Jones added.