Shelby County heading to playoffs for first time since 2009

By SCOTT MIMS | Staff Writer

JEMISON — The Shelby County Wildcats overpowered the Jemison Panthers on Friday night, Oct. 23 with a 34-6 win to set a major team milestone, clinching a spot in the playoffs for the first time in 11 years.

The Wildcat offense was working like a well-oiled machine Friday night, playing better than they did during their last home stand.

Head coach Heath Childers said it was obviously a big night for the school, the program and the community.

“It’s been 11 years since we’ve been in the playoffs, and this win tonight punched our ticket,” Childers said after the game. “I’m so proud for our players. They’ve worked hard and they’ve stayed the course and they’ve earned it.”

He was quick to praise wide receiver Isaac Montgomery for making two big-time catches in the first half and for getting the Wildcats’ momentum going early.

“He makes big plays for us, explosive plays,” Childers said. “I thought the offensive line played extremely well tonight, especially being banged up and being a little shorthanded. The running backs played well. They ran the ball hard, defensively we were good. It was just a great team effort.”

Shelby’s Evan Joiner broke the ice in the first quarter with a touchdown, and Jemison’s Ryan Harris answered with 2:11 in the first. Jemison attempted a 2-point conversion but came up short.

With just 27 second left in the first quarter, a Montgomery reception set the stage for another Joiner touchdown, making the score 14-6 Shelby County.

The Panthers threatened deep in Wildcat territory but failed to capitalize as Shelby County took over on downs. The second quarter was uneventful, resulting in a halftime score of 14-6.

About midway through the third quarter, Shelby County’s Landen Stewart hauled in a touchdown reception. Jemison’s Josh Gilliland responded with a 42-yard gain, but again the Panthers came up short in the red zone, turning the ball over on downs.

Next Joiner again dove across the goal line with 3:45 in the third. Jemison blocked the PAT, but the game was quickly slipping away from the Panthers as the Wildcats led 27-6.

Jemison’s next drive was a three-and-out, then Shelby County’s Bradley Horton crossed the goal line on a 10-yard run. This time the kick was good and the score was 34-6, which was the final nail in the coffin.

Shelby County will have one more game this season before heading to the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2009.