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08

Shelby Golden Lions Revenge Last Season's Regional Finals Lose To Hibriten Snapping thier 30 Game Win Streak Reaching Thier 5th State Championship Game in 6 Years

Tonight at Jeff Storie Memorial Stadium the undefeated Hibriten Panthers welcomed in the Shelby Golden Lions. The winner would advance to the 2AA State Championship in Raleigh at Carter Finley Stadium. The Panthers of Hibriten entered tonight's game a perfect 14-0 and had won 30 straight and the 2nd longest winning streak in the state of North Carolina. Shelby in some eyes the #1 team in the preseason fell off the map early losing 3 straight after its week 1 win vs Freedom. It started the season 1-3 but quietly won 11 straight. This was also a rematch of last year's regional (Hibriten won 19 to 7).

As the game got started Shelby would pick up a 1st down as they would advance the ball to the Hibriten 40. But unfortunately the drive would stall there and they would be forced to punt. The punt would go to the Hibriten 1 yard line. Hibriten would have no problem moving the ball however. As Gee Witherspoon Witherspoon would break free on a 3rd down play and took it to the golden lion 30 on a 67 rushing play. Few plays later Gee Witherspoon goes 24 yards on a rushing touchdown . (PAT good) Panthers lead 7 to 0 with 5:14 left in the 1st quarter. Shelby would start to get something started as Isaiah Bess would connect with Z Cherry to the Hibriten 48. Unfortunately the drive would stall as Bess passes were overthrown or dropped. They would be forced to punt. After a Hibriten 3 and out. Shelby would go into the 2nd quarter threatening as they would advance the ball to the 33 of Hibriten as the 1st quarter ended 7 to 0 Panthers.

Shelby would lose yards and the ball as Hibriten recovered a fumble at their own 40 with 10:37 left in the 2nd quarter. They would not do anything with it though as they would go 3 and out again and be forced to punt. Shelby would move.the ball picking up a few 1st downs . But the drive would stall and Shelby would be forced to punt again but a 2nd quarter momentum shift would happen as Hibriten muffs the the Golden Lions recover it at the Panthers 30. Bess would get things started with a screen to his receiver to put the Lions into the red zone. Isaiah Bess would then hit Z Cherry on a 13 yard passing touchdown (PAT good) game tied at 7 with 6:17 left in the 2nd quarter. Hibriten would then go 3 and out again forcing another punt. That's when Isaiah Bess would connect with Z Cherry again this time on a 46 yard passing touchdown (PAT good ). Shelby leads 14 to 7 with 3:23 left in the 2nd quarter. Little over a minute later Hibriten goes to the air but Jaylen Scott would be picked off by KJ Washington with 2:13 in the 2nd quarter. Isaiah Bess would finally connect on a bomb to set Shelby up 1st and goal. But penalties and lose of yards would back the Lions up to the 28 yard line forcing a long field goal attempt that would be no good.
Shelby leads 14 to 7 at halftime.

Hibriten would take the momentum right back because a few plays into the 3rd Gee Witherspoon would break free on a 75 yard run (PAT good ) we are tied at 14 with 11:45 left in the 3rd quarter. Shelby would then go 3 and out forcing a punt.Hibriten would then go on a long drive and it would be finished on a 8 yard touchdown run.(PAT good) Panthers lead 21 to 14 with 2:21 left in the 3rd quarter. That score would hold til the end of the quarter. Shelby would answer right back with a long drive of their own setting up a 4th and inches play Jahari Mitchell would get the 1 yd wildcat touchdown run. (PAT good) We are tied at 21. Hibriten would answer right back but would stall forcing a 30 yard field attempt which would be good but a neutral zone infraction sets it back 5 yards and that field goal would be no good. Shelby would go then move the ball down field late in the 4th quarter in the red zone and Isaiah Bess would hit receiver Diavonni Daley on a 15 yard touchdown pass. (PAT good) Shelby leads it 28 to 21 with 51 seconds left. Hibriten would move the ball desperately trying to tie the game but at midfield but Jaylen Scott would be sacked and the streak is over Shelby wins the 2AA West Regional title. (Thier 5th in 6 years).

Hibriten finishes the season 14-1 and will graduate a huge class. That saw all 4 years them make it to the 3rd round 3 straight conference titles 3 straight regional finals and 1 state championship. The best mark by any Hibriten class.
Shelby improves to 12-3 and have won 11 in a row after a 1-3 start will go for their 5th in 6 years state championship as they play North Davidson (who avenged a early lose to Ledford conference lose and defeated Ledford 24-7 to win the 2AA East Regional title) next Saturday at NC State's Carter Finley Stadium in Raleigh NC.
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