Raiders Defeat Northwest Hughesville on Senior Night
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By Mary Schwanke
On September 3, the North Shelby Raiders (2-0) played their first home game. Before the game started, 14 seniors and their parents were recognized.
The game went on to be a test of endurance and composure against Northwest Hughesville.
Strong North Shelby defense forced Northwest to turn over on downs, allowing them to take over on offense, securing their 44-26 victory during the three-hour long game.
The Raiders defense prevented the offense from making much progress. Robert Uhlmeyer intercepted a pass from Mustang quarterback, Tanner Damlo, causing NS fans to go wild.
At 2nd and goal for the Raiders, Justin Lunsford, carried the ball just short of the goal line. On the third down, Cale Stoneburner was pushed through a wall of Mustangs and into the end zone by his teammates. With a successful conversion, the score was 8-0.
NW received the ball, and after tangling with aggressive defense, punted on their last down. They responded by recovering a NS fumble. Damlo chucked a deep pass to Nicholas Crosswhite, who quickly brought the score up to 8-6.
The Raiders ultimately had to set Brendyn McDaniel up to punt their final down. After NW struggled past defense and turned the ball over, Stoneburner kept the ball on fourth down and brought it in for a touchdown and two-point conversion. Lunsford and Stoneburner achieved several first downs, bringing the ball a few yards from the end zone before the first quarter ended. Seconds into the second quarter, Stoneburner took the ball the remaining two yards for a touchdown. With no conversion, the score stood at 22-6.
Carson Orr intercepted a Mustang pass. Northwest’s defense prevented any progression. Raider defense responded similarly, forcing their opponents to punt. The Mustangs recovered a fumble and Pierson Tichenor scored.
North Shelby answered with a touchdown and two-point conversion of their own by Stoneburner to end the first half. NS led 30-14.
Composure was a key component for the Raiders to maintain their lead in the second half of the game.
“We got in a dogfight. They were a good team. I think our veteran leadership showed through and we kept our composure,” said NS coach David Stuckey.
In the first six minutes of the second half, North Shelby brought the ball mere yards from the end zone, but turned it over on downs. The Raiders defense prevailed, forcing the Mustangs to punt. Senior Noah Greenwell added to the Raiders lead, 36-14.
Between penalties from both teams and quarterback sacks on behalf of Raider defense, Northwest Hughesville moved the ball and scored at 2:20, rendering 36-20 as the score.
During a Raider third down, Stoneburner passed to Landon Bender. The pass was caught, but out of bounds less than a yard beyond the end zone. Northwest Hardin intercepted the ball, and after tussling with Raider defense for several minutes, slipped a deep pass to Crosswhite, who was brought down shy of the goal line. The score became 36-26 when Damlo kept the ball and scored a touchdown.
“We made mistakes. They (Mustangs) forced some of those mistakes. There are some opportunities we missed, but it’s still early in the season. We’ve got to get better at some of those things we made mistakes on, but we’ve also got to stay locked in mentally when we get a little tired,” said Stuckey.
Stoneburner took it to the end zone and Greenwell brought the conversion with six minutes left in the game.
This game was a test along with a learning moment for the North Shelby football team.
“The fact that our boys can regain their composure, seeing and knowing they got put to the test, was huge. Our kids really had to work hard to keep their cool. I was really proud of our composure and our focus,” said Stuckey.
The Raiders will play again next Friday at Norborne/Hardin-Central in Norborne, Missouri.