‘Cats attack Cavs on all fronts

Homecoming week can present distractions galore and sometimes lackadaisical play. However, with Wildcat fever running rampant in Columbiana, the Shelby County added a sixth notch to its belt Friday with powerful, 55-14, victory over the John Carroll Cavaliers.

“We came out hitting on all cylinders tonight and real focused”, Wildcat Head Coach Ryan Herring said. “Our kids proved tonight we can play focused even with all the distractions we had this week. I am happy with the win and the way the kids played.”

A 39-yard kickoff return set the tone for the first Wildcat offensive series of the night. After a successful fourth-and-four conversion, Tae Lewis bolted down the sideline from the Cavalier 22-yard line to put the sixth-ranked Wildcats (6-0) up early, 7-0.

On the ensuing offensive drive, Braten Dill hit Dustin Wood on a post pattern across the middle for a 26-yard touchdown strike and 14-0 lead.

John Carroll looked to answer on its next drive, but Landon Denney delivered a stiff blow to Cavalier running back Andric Merchant, who coughed up the football. Moments later, Lewis bolted for the end zone again from 33 yards out.

Known as a pounding run team, SCHS ran, passed and did everything in between during Friday’s game, scoring on its next three offensive possessions before the half. Dill connected with Wood for two more scoring tosses, while Darion Sutton ran one in from 9 yards.

The Cavs punched the ball in before the half, but it didn’t derail the Wildcats’ 34-6 halftime lead.

John Carroll took control in the third quarter, scoring on the opening possession of the half when Merchant found the end zone for the second score of the night. A 2-point conversion inched the Cavs closer, 34-14.

SCHS pressed on, taking in two other scoring runs from Sutton of 10 and 1 yards out. Lewis scampered in from the 15-yard line to add to the total tally of 317 yards on the ground.

Dill padded the 475 yards of total offense with 158 yards through the air on 11-of-16 passing.

The win was extra special for Herring, who had a special homecoming of his own. Friday was the first opportunity his dad, Robert Herring, had the chance to see his son in action as a head coach. A bye week allowed the elder Herring to make the trek over from his post at Newnan High School in Georgia to watch his chip off the ole’ block son.

“I was glad he got to see us get a win”, Herring said of his dad. “It is always something special when your mother and father get to come see your team play, especially when he’s a coach himself. I was very proud of him being here.”

With the win, Shelby County is one region victory away from clinching a playoff spot and three wins away from a region championship. They host Moody next Friday.