Senior shines in Wildcats 50-34 offensive explosion

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Staff Writer

COLUMBIANA – Offense, offense and more offense. That was the story of the night when Woodlawn came to Columbiana to take on the Shelby County Wildcats in a Class 5A Region 3 matchup on Friday night, Oct. 21.

A combined 84 points was scored between the two teams as the Wildcats went on to defeat the Colonels by a final score of 50-34.

“The offense started coming together during the pleasant grove game,” Shelby County head coach Heath Childers said. “I really thought we hit our stride last week against Briarwood, they play good defense and we were able to move the ball on them, but just couldn’t finish long drives.”

That wouldn’t be a problem this week as both Woodlawn and Shelby County would score on their first three drives. The Wildcats held a 21-18 lead after a couple of missed two point conversions by the Colonels.

Shelby County got the ball back with 1:43 left until halftime, which normally wouldn’t be enough time for the heavy option game to score, but during this game that wouldn’t be a problem.

Three plays into the drive, junior quarterback Chadwyn Russ took the snap, faked the handoff and stepped into the pocket only to see running back Austin Lucas streaking down the middle of the field wide open. Russ let the ball fly and it was caught by Lucas on the run for a 43-yard gain.

One play later, with six seconds left on the clock from the 9-yard-line, senior running back Keyvontae Mayfield would run in for his second of three touchdowns on senior night to put the Wildcats up 28-18 as time expired in the half.

Woodlawn would come out and score within a minute of the second half starting on a 55-yard touchdown pass, and after converting the two-point conversion they would be within two, at 28-26.

Shelby County would come right back with another beautifully designed play action pass that Russ would complete to Lucas, this time for a 36-yard touchdown. Russ didn’t throw another pass and would end the game 2-2 for 79 yards and two touchdowns through the air.

In a game of back and forth, the Colonels would take the ball straight down the field and score on a three minute 65-yard drive. After another successful two-point conversion the score was knotted at 34.

The Wildcats would come back and score again on their next drive, which featured some tough hard-nosed running from Mayfield. On Mayfield’s 11-yard touchdown run he pummeled over two Colonel defenders almost Herschel Walker “Hobnail boot” esc.

Lucas converted the two-point conversion, which made the score 42-34, but more remarkably made it the sixth consecutive drive Shelby County had scored on and the 11th consecutive score combined between the two teams.

That would streak would end on Woodlawn’s next drive.

After a holding penalty set up second and about 25, the Colonels quarterback aired a ball down the right sideline to a receiver in a one-on-one matchup with junior Lamont Bush. Bush would win that battle picking off the Woodlawn quarterback.

The Colonel defense didn’t have much left in the tank at all and let the Wildcats wheel off several big runs on the ensuing drive, which would end in a Lucas touchdown to put them up 50-34 with 7:23 left.

Still plenty of time left the way these two had been playing offense, but Woodlawn would through another pick, this time to Jeremiah Crenshaw, which would be the last nail in the coffin.

Mayfield shined on senior night running the ball 21 times for 257 yards and three touchdowns, while Lucas added 12 rushing attempts for 82 yards and two touchdowns, and another 79 yards and a touchdown receiving.

“The defense has had it rough the last three or four weeks and they had some key stops late tonight,” Childers said. “Those interceptions were definitely a turning point in the game.”

The win moves Shelby County to (4-5, 2-5), which gives them their most wins in a season during Childer’s three years at the program and most since 2011, showing vast improvement.

“I’m proud of these players and coaches, especially the seniors on senior night,” Childers said. “I’m proud of how they bought in and fought through. They’ve had some tough times, but they reaped some of the benefits tonight.”

The Wildcats travel to Jemison on Friday, Oct. 28, to take on the Class 5A Region 3 Panthers, who have had their fair share of struggles.

A win would end Shelby County’s season with a .500 record or better for the first time since their 9-2 season in 2009.

“We talked about winning these last two games and getting to .500 earlier this week,” Childers said. “That’s something we are really wanting to do.”