Selma beats Shelby County in low-scoring nail biter

By SCOTT MIMS | Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA — The Shelby County Wildcats were looking to go 3-0 for the first time since 2008 but lost a 12-10 heartbreaker to the Selma High Saints Friday night on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Shelby County started off strong with a string of first downs, then Evan Joiner ran just short of the goal line, but on the next play the Saints recovered a Wildcat fumble. That loss of opportunity fired up the Wildcats because on the ensuing play, Shelby County’s JT Pennington tackled Sherwood Martin for a safety to put up the first points for Shelby with 2:52 on the clock in the first quarter.

The Wildcats’ next drive ended in a three-and-out, then Selma advanced for a couple of first downs. As the second quarter of play began, a would-be Saints touchdown was called back due to an illegal procedure. But it wouldn’t stand long because Selma hauled in a 15-yard pass on the very next play for a touchdown. The 2-point conversion was no good.

Shelby County recovered their own fumble on the next drive but was forced to punt. The punt went into the home stands as Selma took over.

Kaden Cardwell intercepted a Selma pass with 6:12 remaining in the half, but the Saints answered on the next play with an interception of their own, which was returned for a pick six.

The Wildcats would not wait long before answering as Isaac Montgomery hauled in a 16-yard pass for a touchdown with just 3:04 remaining in the half. A handoff to Raheem Montgomery was the icing on the cake for a 2-point conversion.

Shelby County’s Connor Aderholt broke up a Saints pass, and just a couple of plays later he made sure he didn’t miss, intercepting the ball to regain possession for the Wildcats. Time ran out before the Wildcats could capitalize, however, resulting in a halftime score of 12-10 in Selma’s favor.

The third quarter was uneventful as the teams traded possessions and penalties, while lightning flashed in the distance but no rain fell. Waiting for the rain Friday night was like waiting for points because neither would come to pass.

In the fourth quarter, a 9-yard gain by Selma’s Trenton Waller set up a quarterback keeper for DJ Nelson, who ran out of bounds at the Shelby County 17-yard line. The Saints drove the ball down to the 1 but Shelby County’s Tyrese Goodman recovered a fumble, keeping hope alive for the Wildcats.

The clock was ticking down as Shelby County’s band played Green Day’s “Basket Case” and the tension was high.

Selma was called for roughing the passer with 1:23 left to play, and the Wildcats followed with a short gain. Selma’s Dakaari Nelson, however, had other plans as Nelson intercepted a pass with 35 seconds left.

The Saints let the clock run out and the final score stood at 12-10.

“That was a killer,” said Shelby County coach Heath Childers, recalling the first quarter fumble on the 1-inch line. “But the defense played exceptionally well both halves. I’m so proud of how our kids fought and how hard they played.”

Childers said the night’s results were on him.

“We as coaches have got to get the offense fixed. We’ve got to figure out ways to get the ball moving,” he said. “First of all, we’re busting blocking assignments. That’s coaching; that’s on me. And we’re still real sloppy handling the football. We’re putting it on the ground too much, and we’ve got to get that fixed.”

Penalties were another area Childers said he wanted the team to improve on as they prepare to face Demopolis on the road next week.