Last week, both Shelby and Hunter Huss defeated their playoff opponents 41-0. The Huskies have scored 32 or more points in nine out of the previous ten weeks. The Huskies only gave up double digit scored twice in that timespan. Shelby has been held below 30 points only twice this year and have only had four games where they gave up double digit points to their opponents. Something had to give.
Early on, it was Hunter Huss that was doing the giving. Jwan “Truck” Sims got Shelby on the board early with a 20-yard touchdown run. The extra point was no good however. Things got worse before they got better for the Huskies. Zo Wallace was intercepted by C.J. Ross. Ross took it 60 yards for another Shelby touchdown. Ethan Triplett’s extra point was good.
The Huskies, however, would not roll over. After running some wildcat plays, the Huskies put Crawford Chandler in at quarterback. He hit Antwanez Barnett for a 37-yard touchdown pass. Trevor Hargett’s kick made it 13-7. The Golden Lions responded with a Malik Surratt 55-yard touchdown pass to Jayden Borders. The extra point was good. The Huskies threw a 55-yard touchdown pass of their own. It was another Chandler to Barnett connection. The two-point conversion try was no good however.
After stopping Shelby, Chandler and Barnett connected for another touchdown pass. This time it was from 56 yards. That would be 148 reception yards for Barnett with three touchdowns off of three receptions in the first half. Things soured for the Huskies again late in the second quarter. Two special teams gaffes by Huss (a muffed punt and a fumble on a kickoff return) put Shelby in position to pull away. Two touchdown passed from Surratt to Darius Fuller (36 yards and 22 yards) put Shelby on top 34-19 at half-time.
In the second half, the Huskies came out with a vengeance. Crawford Chandler cut Shelby’s lead with a 14-yard touchdown run. The Huskies’ onside kick was successful and they got another chance. They took advantage. Chandler threw his fourth touchdown pass of the night. This time, it was a 25-yard pass to Anthony Davis. The Huskies opted to just go for the kick instead of the two-point conversion. Hargett’s kick was good and Shelby’s lead was once again cut to just one-point at 34-33. Hargett was 3-for-4 on extra point kicks on the night.
The Golden Lions would pull away in the fourth quarter. Two touchdown runs by Jwan “Truck” Sims (5 yards and 23 yards) put the game away for Shelby. Ethan Triplett was 5-for-6 on extra point kicks. That made the final 48-33. That is the most points Shelby has given up on the year. Their previous high was 19 in a 21-19 over county and conference rival, Crest.
“The only way we can look at it is we survived and advanced.” said Shelby head coach Lance Ware “Hunter Huss gave us everything. It was a great game. I thought it was back and forth with a lot of momentum changes.”
“They made some plays. They had three completions in the first half, all for touchdowns. They had a great plan for what they did. They moved the ball on us more than anyone else has. We did not have one of our best defensive games. We give a lot of credit to Hunter Huss. Coach (Jamar) McCoy had his team prepared and gave us the best shot we’ve had all year. Our defense still found a way to make plays when they had to with a pick-six and causing a few fumbles. I thought special teams was going to be a big deal coming in and it was. It was more of the turnovers on special teams.”
“I know Monroe is an excellent football team.” Ware said of his next opponent “They’re very good on defense and very fast. They’ve played right after us last year (in the state championship games). I have a ton of respect for Coach Sowell and what he’s done. It should be a heck of a ball game.”
Shelby will host Monroe next week in the battle of the defending state champs. Shelby won the 2A last year while Monroe won the 2AA. The Red Hawks defeated East Lincoln 27-0.
“We knew all along, scouting them and looking at film all week, we wanted to attack their secondary and that’s what we did.” said Hunter Huss head coach Jamar McCoy “Major turnovers killed us. There’s not much you can say after a loss like this to play such a great team and great program so close. You look at it and you know that you really gave it away with the turnovers so these kids are hurting. At the end of the day, it’s football, it’s life. It happens. When you play a football club like this, you have to play perfect football. We didn’t do that tonight. Too many penalties, too many turnovers.”
Malik Surratt led Shelby’s offense with 187 yards passing and three touchdowns. Jwan “Truck” Sims amassed 113 yards and three touchdowns. Crawford Chandler led the Huskies with 219 yards passing, 61 yards rushing, and five touchdowns (four passing, one rushing). Shelby’s C.J. Ross and Damien Key each had an interception. Shelby also recovered three fumbles on the night. Hunter Huss recovered two.