Shelby County falls in first round at Eufaula

Published 11:08 pm Thursday, November 9, 2023

By CHRIS MEGGINSON | Special to the Reporter

EUFAULA – Hopes of a run in the Class 5A playoffs were quickly smashed Thursday night for the Shelby County Wildcats in a 65-19 loss at Region 2 champion Eufaula High School. It was the Wildcats’ first playoff appearance since the 2021 season and third since 2020 after missing the playoffs from 2010-2019.

“Our number one goal going into every season is to play a second season in the playoffs,” Shelby County coach Zeb Ellison said. “These seniors have been able to do it twice in the three years we’ve been here. I want to thank them. I’m extremely proud of them. With everything this group of guys has had to go through this year, the adversity and everything, I couldn’t be prouder of them.

“I’m extremely happy of the way they continued to fight all season and to give themselves a chance when all the odds were stacked against them. They went out and fought each and every night, and I’m extremely proud of them, because that’s what life’s going to be about.”

The Tigers took a 34-0 lead in the first quarter, aided by a pair of rushing touchdowns by Marquia Harris Jr and TDs from Browning Anderson and Atorian Slaughter. Late in the quarter, Jonathan Jackson blocked a Wildcats’ punt at the 5 and Tyuan Turner fell on it for a touchdown.

Shelby County turned the ball over two more times for touchdowns in the second quarter. First, it was Jaquavious Moss stripping the ball from SCHS quarterback Ryan Sipes on a sack, which Keviyon Lamons scooped and scored.

After a 45-yard touchdown run by Jaylin Wright and a 27-yard TD run by Zachai Steele, Sipes was intercepted around the 35 by Jamere Thomas, who took it to the house for a 62-0 lead.

The Wildcats got on the board late in the first half on a touchdown reception by Anthony Palmieri to make it 62-6 at halftime.

Eufaula added a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter and pumped the breaks. Shelby County added two touchdowns in the second half on runs from Bradley Horton.

Cooper Pennington, Eli Holliman and Leeton Satchel each had three solo tackles to lead the defense. Pennington had one fumble recovery.

Shelby County’s season comes to a close with a 2-9 record.

Eufaula (8-3) will carry its three-game win streak into a Round 2 game for the first time since 2020. The Tigers will meet the winner of Faith Academy vs Elmore County next week.