Shelby Academy upend top-seeded Crenshaw
By PERRY SMITH / Staff Writer
The No. 4-seeded Shelby Academy Raiders knew they were in for a fight Friday when they went to Luverne to play undefeated and top-seeded Crenshaw in the first round of the playoffs.
They also knew they would have to play at the top of their game to beat the Cougars in their own house.
They were able to do both Friday, beating Crenshaw 21-14, which means the road to defending their AISA Class 1A state championship will now go through Columbiana for a second round match-up with Cornerstone.
“It was a very good game, the kind you want to be involved in: hard-hitting and physical,” said head coach Shannon Jones.
“We played lights-out football,” he added, “That’s probably the best game we played all year.”
A 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by JoJo Tidmore put the Raiders on the board first, as they carried a 7-7 tie in the half after Crenshaw answered on a first-quarter touchdown run. After some critical adjustments at the line of scrimmage, Jones said the team was able to execute better and put themselves in a position to win.
Shelby gave up one more touchdown to start the third quarter and then shut out the Cougars in the second half, putting up two scores in the fourth quarter with runs by Chad King and Jason McDaniel.
The win sets up a rematch with Jones’ former boss at Cornerstone, Tim Smith, and a team that beat them earlier in the year 18-7.
“We’ve been itching to get another shot at them,” Jones said.