Shelby County falls to Moody

By RICKY RUSTON / Special to the Reporter

MOODY – The Shelby County Wildcats (2-1, 1-1) crossed county lines Friday night for their first 5A Region 5 matchup on the road, falling to the Moody Blue Devils 27-20.

Rolling into Week 3 with two wins in hand, SCHS was nestled in a spot not seen since 2008 – an undefeated start. Sort of like a no-hitter in baseball, you don’t want talk about it, but, it’s fun, and you know it’s there. Something special could be brewing, but it just needs to play out – it always does.

SCHS was in that spot Friday night when they pulled into Blue Devil stadium. The Wildcats had the momentum, but also had the injuries to account for with three starters out and/or banged up.  The first loss always stings, but it’s a long season with a lot still left still up for grabs.

“We’ll pick up the pieces on Sunday and go back to work,” Wildcat head coach Heath Childers said following the game.  “We didn’t have a good week of practice this week and that falls on me.  We’ll get it fixed, but there’s only one way to put it – we got outcoached and outplayed tonight.  We just got beat.”

As the smoke was clearing from pregame fireworks, Moody was already going the other way when Kyle Ivy took the opening kickoff 83 yards for the fist score of the game.  After the successful PAT, the home team lead 7-0 just nineteen ticks in the first quarter.

It was a shot in the arm, no doubt, but SCHS responded with a 15-play drive starting from their own 35-yard line that was capped off by Mike Norwood rumbling in from the two yard line.  The drive chewed up eight minutes of the game clock.  After a missed PAT, the Blue Devils lead 7-6.

Quickly, into their second possession from their own 42-yard line, the Blue Devils went into hurry-up and it was effective.  Set up by two pass completions, they were back in business at the Wildcat 13-yard line.  Three plays later, Gabe Webb scampered in over left tackle from the 5-yard line for the score.  With the PAT, the Blue Devils extended the lead to 14-6 as the opening quarter closed.

The Wildcat offense responded – again. Starting at their own 25-yard line, their staple offense marched down the field on an 11-play drive where Wildcat quarterback Chadwin Russ, connected with Mitch Nash on a 14-yard scoring strike.  The two-point conversion was unsuccessful and the Blue Devils held the narrow 14-12 lead halfway through the second quarter.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Wildcats chalked up an onside kick and it was a beauty. Following a recovery by Keyvontae Mayfield, the Wildcats were back in business at the Blue Devil 39-yard line. However, a turn over on downs at the 26-yard would stall the drive with four minutes left before the half.

With the half drawing close, the Blue Devils had a shot to extend the lead and they did by using every second remaining.  After a timeout with seven ticks left, the Wildcats looked to have leverage on their side with time only for one more play.

Louie Goff then connected with Ivy on a 28-yard heave that split two Wildcat defenders and caught over the shoulder for the score.  With the PAT, the home team led 21-12.

In the second half, the Wildcats had their chances offensively, but two drives stalled in Blue Devil territory from the 11-yard line and 15-yard line after forcing a punt.

Nothing gained and nothing was lost in the third stanza as the Blue Devils still held on to the 9-point lead leading into the fourth.

Punts were scarce, but the Blue Devils were facing a 4th and 5 from their own 12-yard line just a few seconds into the 4th.  The punt was muffed by SCHS at the Moody 44-yard line that set up a domino effect.  A second and 14 pass conversion by Goff kept that drive alive for the Blue Devils at midfield and a Russ interception after a turn over on downs with 5 minutes left just cemented that it just wasn’t the Wildcat’s night.

Webb eventually muscled in for another scoring run from the Wildcats 10-yard line with 2:00 minutes left.  Russ led a quick paced drive down the field to find Jeremiah Crenshaw for a 25 yard scoring strike. Mayfield bolted in on the 2-pt conversion to pull it within seven, but the ensuing onside kick would fail.

SCHS earned everything they got Friday night as the Blue Devils answered the call and gave no free passes.  Still, despite the miscues and missed opportunities, the Wildcats had an opportunity to overcome and get a win.

Mayfield finished the night with 126 yards on 19 rushes, Crenshaw tallied 56 yards on 7 carries and Norwood added 54 yards.  Russ was 3 for 9 on the night with 96 passing yards with two touchdown tosses and one interception.