Raiders’ battle ends short at Ft. Dale

The Shelby Academy Raiders got off to a slow start against the Fort Dale Eagles, but never quit in a 44-28 loss in Greenville Friday night.

“In the first half, I guess we were intimidated by playing a 3A school,” said head coach Shannon Jones. “But then we came out and had a pretty good second half.”

Fort Dale jumped out to a 23-0 lead, but the Raiders made the best of several first half mistakes by the Eagles.

Shelby’s first score came on a 55-yard fumble recovery by Brandon Horton.

After the extra point from Jordan Ikner, the lead was cut to 23-7.

The next time, it was special teams that did it for the Raiders when Chad King took a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown.

That score came with 1:06 left in the first half, but the Eagles managed to score with three seconds left on the clock to take a 37-14 lead into the locker room.

Despite being down, the Raiders never gave up.

Colton Wingard broke a 32-yard run down to the FDA 20, and Cody Jones snuck it in from a yard out to cut the lead to 37-21.

From there, the two teams traded interceptions for a few possessions.

Horton came up with a pick on his own 5-yard line as the Eagles were driving, but the Raiders had to punt.

Jones stopped another Fort Dale drive with an interception and a 39-yard return that put the Raiders in Eagle territory.

Unfortunately, they gave it back with a pick to the Eagles’ Todd Burkett at the 7-yard line.

It looked like the Eagles might score again when Jones came up with yet another interception, but the Raiders were unable to convert it.

Fort Dale tacked on an insurance touchdown, but Shelby kept plugging away and Wingard punched it in from 2 yards out with 0:18 left in the game to make the final margin 44-28.

“We struggled in the first half, and then we had a respectable second half and kept it close,” Jones said. “That’s been the story of the season. I’m proud of the team and how they responded after we challenged them at halftime.”

The Raiders must now prepare for Southern Academy and the first round of the playoffs next week.