By Troy Treasure
ROSENDALE – North Shelby expected to be greeted by a North Andrew team seeking revenge for last season’s 46-36 Raiders’ upset win.
NS also anticipated a very physical contest.
The Cardinals delivered their punch and got payback with a 44-20 victory Friday, Sept. 25.
“We preach (physicality), we coach it, we teach it; we practice them. But it’s also got to be in them,” North Andrew head coach Dwyane Williams told the St. Joseph Free-Press.
“We’ve got rural farm boys, they all work with their hands, so being tough is kind of how they’re raised and who they are,” Williams added.
“We’re a hard-nosed, smash-mouth football team and these guys love that part of it.”
Turnovers proved costly in North Shelby’s first loss of the season.
NS (4-1) fumbled a pass reception on its opening drive. Clayton Linville’s recovery for North Andrew led to a 21-yard touchdown run by Cardinals senior quarterback Carson Thomas.
The opening score was a result of good scheming at the point of attack.
With Raiders standout defensive lineman Jackson Lunsford surging outside, North Andrew double-teamed fellow NS lineman Brayton Cook. Thomas saw a hole, broke a tackle attempt by linebacker Kyle Smith at the line of scrimmage and took it to the house.
North Shelby’s second possession came to an end when NA sophomore Jacob Chittum stopped Cale Stoneburner’s QB sneak on fourth down and inches. The Cardinals offense responded with a 17-yard TD run from sophomore running back Hayden Ecker.
North Shelby answered with a sustained drive capped by Justin Lunsford’s 1-yard TD getting the Raiders within eight, 14-6, at the end of the first quarter.
However, NS yielded an Andrew Goff nine-yard touchdown 1:06 into the second.
The two teams exchanged offense late in the first half.
Ecker put North Andrew (5-0) up 26-6 with 3:09 remaining taking a screen pass to pay dirt from 21 yards out. NA added a two-point conversion.
The Raiders responded less than a minute later on Stoneburner’s 41-yard touchdown pass to Justin Lunsford.
The first half concluded 28-12 when NS linebacker Kyle Smith intercepted a Thomas pass in the end zone.
North Shelby made a big play on defense early in the third quarter.
Carson Orr intercepted Thomas to set up another Justin Lunsford touchdown run. The ensuing two-point conversion attempt was good putting NS within eight, 28-20.
Down 36-20 late in the quarter, the Raiders mismanaged a snap inside the Cardinals’ five. NA’s Brewster Wheeler snared the loose carom and dashed for a 77-yard TD return.
The fourth quarter was scoreless.
Thomas finished with 114 yards rushing. Ecker grounded out 113.
Justin Lunsford scored all three of North Shelby’s touchdowns, two by run; another via pass. He finished with 138 yards (77 rushing, 61 receiving).
The Raiders are scheduled to host winless Keytesville-Northwestern for homecoming Oct. 2.
NOTES: North Shelby dropped three spots to No. 5 in this week’s eight-man football state media poll. This week’s Top-10 is as follows: 1. Mound City, 2. North Andrew, 3. Southwest Livingston, 4. Stanberry, 5. North Shelby, 6. Drexel, 7. Archie, 8. SHNH, 9. Pattonsburg, 10. East Atchison. Others receiving votes: St. Paul Lutheran (2), Orrick (1) and Rock Port (1) … Second-ranked North Andrew is scheduled to host No. 4 Stanberry on Friday … North Shelby is slated to entertain Stanberry Oct. 9.