Wildcats roll to homecoming win

The Shelby County Wildcats knocked off the Marbury Bulldogs, 17-14 for their first win of the season. The game was also homecoming for the Wildcats. (FILE)

The Shelby County Wildcats knocked off the Marbury Bulldogs, 17-14 for their first win of the season. The game was also homecoming for the Wildcats. (FILE)

By RICKY RUSTON/For the Reporter

COLUMBIANA — The Shelby County Wildcats played host to the Marbury Bulldogs Friday night and claimed the 17-14 Homecoming win.

It was all fun and games on Washington Street this week for SCHS with the annual parade rolling down Main Street Friday afternoon.  Any win under the lights is special, but a Homecoming win is even more satisfying.  SCHS needed a win and they got one while many of the Wildcat faithful looked on.

“I saw a lot of resolve out of our players tonight that had the determination to see something through to the end,” Wildcat head coach Heath Childers said after the win.   “We shot ourselves in the foot a lot tonight, but the kids fought hard and pulled out a win.”

SCHS found the scoreboard early in the first quarter after a four-and-out series from the Bulldogs to open the game. An eight-play scoring drive was capped off when Jamarius Mayfield hit the end zone from the Bulldog 5-yard line.  Following the Aldo Jones PAT, the Wildcats held the 7-0 midway through the first stanza.

Within the second quarter, SCHS had two fumbles lost on as many possessions.  The Bulldogs capitalized on the latter gift with a 5-yard scoring strike.  With the PAT, intermission hit with the count tied 7-7.

SCHS came out to open the third with a 7-play scoring dive that ended when Austin Childers rumbled in from the 2-yard line.  With the Jones PAT, the Wildcats reclaimed the lead, 14-7, and led into the fourth quarter.

SCHS was well on their way to a smooth ending after a Jones 23-yard field goal to extend the lead 17-7 with just above five minutes remaining.

However, a Bulldog touchdown toss from the Wildcat 9-yard line, after a roughing the passer call, sent a pulse of anxiety through the stadium as the visitors pulled within three, 17-14, late in the fourth.

The ensuing onside kick recovery by the Bulldogs only elevated matters.  However, a sack by Austin Tolleson and an interception by Kevontae Mayfield just a few plays later sent Papa McCombs Stadium erupting with excitement.

Despite the miscues, the fumbles and the penalties, the Wildcats defense was blue collar only allowing 138 total yards of offense for the Bulldogs.  The Wildcats rolled up 236 rushing yards on the night.  Tolleson was a workhorse with 127 yards on 19 carries.  Mayfield finished the night with 80 yards on 17 carries.

It’s been 100 years of Homecoming’s at SCHS, but the win over the Bulldogs was career first for Childers.

“I’m a little taken back and it hasn’t really set in yet.  I am really proud for the players, coaches and community tonight,” he said.  “The past few years have been a little rough and I am more happy for the town, community and the school more tonight than I am myself.”