Shelby County falls 20-14 in jamboree

By Ricky Ruston | Special to the Reporter

COLUMBIANA – The Shelby County Wildcats opened up their 2017 campaign Friday night falling to the Childersburg Tigers 20-14. It was an unofficial game for the Wildcats within a bye week and with a controlled format.  It was a night to shake a little rust off and calm the jitters that the Friday night lights bring.  Football was back and with its small town flavor.

To open up the night, the Tigers took advantage offensively with a 17-play, 80-yard drive that consisted of three third down conversions to keep the drive alive.  The drive was capped off when Tiger quarterback, Justin Tyler, snuck up the middle from the Wildcat 1-yard line to claim the early lead.  After the PAT, the Tigers went up 7-0 midway through the opening stanza.

Three minutes into the second quarter, a Wildcat drive stalled at the Tiger 29-yard line when a Tiger defender picked off a Chase Holliman pass.  Six plays later, Jelan Kidd scampered around right end for the score from the 6-yard line.  Leading into the half the Tigers held the 14-0 lead.

Coming out of the intermission, following their opening drive, the Wildcats would quickly be back in business when Greg Oliver picked off a Tiger pass to set his offense up close to midfield.  Oliver’s defensive steal was the catalyst to the 14-play scoring drive that was on deck for the Wildcats.  It was Oliver who then bolted in from the Tiger 4-yard line for the score.  After missing the 2-point conversion, the Tigers lead was trimmed 14-6 with one quarter to play.

The Wildcats defense held on the next Tiger possession following 10-yard sack for loss and that is when, freshman, Tyrese Goodwin entered stage right for the Wildcats offense.

Goodwin, with his young buddies up front, stole the show on their drive from the Tiger 44-yard line.  Goodwin had two carries – the first one, he reeled off 24-yards, the second was for 20-yards and a score over right end.  The Wildcats needed a score and they needed a shot of energy.  Goodwin gave them both, evening the score 14-14 with 9:00 left to play.

On the ensuing possession, the Tigers hit pay dirt when Xzavion Garrett bolted down the visitor sideline for an 80-yard scoring run.  After a last effort from the Wildcats, at the Tiger 10-yard line, that is where it stood.

The Wildcats fell short Friday night, but the journey of where it counts lies within the weeks ahead.  Some veterans, some new faces make up this year’s squad.  Many of those new faces saw action Friday night that will help through the season.  Two senior veterans, Austin Lucas and Trent Sullivan, held the rope for the Wildcats on both sides.

Offensively, the Wildcats rolled up 282 yards of total offense with 254 yards on the ground and 28 yards through the air.  Papa McCombs Stadium will see action Thursday night as the Wildcats host Holt.