Shelby County shows second half improvements in loss to No. 5 Moody

Published 2:14 am Saturday, September 30, 2023

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By KAYLEE BHASIN | Special to the Reporter

MOODY – It was a day of painful déjà vu for the Shelby County Wildcats after they walked away suffering a loss of 49-6 by the Moody Blue Devils.

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Shelby County coach Zeb Ellison said after tonight’s game. “You’ve just got to take it one play at a time. The players are extremely young, and we’ve got to have some guys step up, we’ve said it all year. We’ve got to keep getting better.”

The Blue Devils came into the game with major energy, scoring their first touchdown in a three-play drive. What sealed the deal was Moody’s quarterback Charles Johnson handing off the ball to Blaine Burke for a great drive up the field to run the ball into the end zone. The kick by Junior Morenosuarez was good, bringing the score to 7-0 within the first minute of the game.

The Wildcats tried their best to even the score, but the Blue Devils defense was all over them. The Blue Devils kept the momentum up with another touchdown with five minutes left of the first quarter. Moody’s Abram Jackson did great work getting the team up the field and completed the play with a pass from Johnson to wide receiver Burke. Morenosuarez completed another extra point, and the score was 14-0.

Once again, the Wildcats tried to even the score with Johnson trying his best to connect, but it just wasn’t happening. The Wildcats kept trying to get to the door of the Blue Devils but to no avail as Moody’s Kaleb Goff intercepted Shelby County’s pass for another touchdown. Moody’s Morenosuarez proved reliable as another field goal was completed, propelling the team forward with a score of 21-0 with three minutes left in the quarter.

To close the quarter out, the Blue Devils scored a fourth touchdown on a two-play drive finishing with a hand off from Johnson to Kadarius Barnes. As expected, the extra point was made, and the quarter finished with the score of 28-0.

The second quarter started out with a tug of war of possession between the Wildcats and Blue Devils. Shelby County was taking every yard they could, even if it was one at a time. The Moody defense was just too big a force to be reckoned with.

The action picked up towards the middle of the quarter with another touchdown by a pass from Johnson to Burke. This time, Morenosuarez’s kick went wide, leaving the score 34-0.

Shelby County scraped their way across the field with Micah Swain covering some yardage. The Wildcats finally made it into the end zone with Ryan Sipes to Jakari Miller with 24 seconds left in the half. Kicker Taylor Minton had his attempt blocked by the Blue Devils and the score was 34-6.

The Blue Devils weren’t finished yet, because Moody’s Burke ran the return all the way to the end zone for another touchdown. Moody brought out kicker William Yates and the team went wild for his completed extra point, finishing off the half at 41-6.

The third quarter came out without a score, but Shelby County brought the defense. They looked much better coming out of the gate this quarter and were able to stop the Blue Devils entirely.

The only real change was the swapping of Moody’s Johnson for Bryton Ursey. Regardless of the lack of touchdowns this quarter, there was great work put in by Sipes and Anthony Palmieri to get them up the field.

The fourth quarter was slow to start with each team going back-and-forth with possession. There were some standout duos from both Shelby County and Moody. From the Wildcats, it was Sipes and Dominic Woods, and from the Blue Devils, it was Johnson and Kevin James.

All of the back-and-forth came to a head when Moody’s Ursey handed off to James for a 62-yard touchdown with four minutes left in the game. Ursey then took the chance and ran the ball in for two points and ended the game with the score of 49-6.

Next Friday, the Wildcats play the Demopolis Tigers on their home turf. Hopefully, they can turn it around and bring a win home to Shelby County.