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By Mary Schwanke
The North Shelby Raiders were pitted against the Schuyler County Rams on Friday, September 16. It began neck and neck, with the score tied at 24-24 at the start of the second quarter. However, the Raiders eventually pulled out in front with a victory of 74-30. Amos Fredrickson led in scoring stats on offense, with five touchdowns (14 so far in the season) and 173 rushing yards.
The Raiders started on defense against the Rams, who were well-balanced in both the passing and running side of things. A minute and a half in, from the one-yard line, the Rams scored their first touchdown. NS suffered a fumble in their first possession, which was recovered by Schuyler. The Rams threw a successful touchdown pass and brought the score to 12-0.
“You gotta give a lot of credit to Schuyler County,” said Head Coach David Stuckey. “They came out ready to play, took the game to us, and played really great football. They made a couple good plays on us and really tested us.”
NS responded quickly, with Fredrickson running 38 yards to the endzone right off the bat. The conversion was good. The Raiders turned the tables on the Rams, when a loose ball was recovered by freshman Oren Vanskike on their 34-yard line.
Minutes later, Fredrickson shot through SC’s defense for another touchdown. Quarterback JD Rich, defense hot on his tail, managed to throw the ball in to Casey Shockley for a snag of a conversion. The score was now 16-12.
The Rams scored again. Fredrickson got another touchdown after, and with Rich’s additional two points, the score read 24-18 as the quarter ended.
Right into the second quarter, the Rams had run for 54 yards, only to be stopped by Clay Cook at the nine-yard line. Schuyler made it into the end zone on their next play, and the score was tied at 24. The Raiders would not let the Rams reach the goal line again, until the very end of the game.
“We kept our wits about us,” said Stuckey. “We didn’t let it get to us that much and we gathered ourselves and did what we had to do on offense: keep scoring and get our defense in rhythm.”
The Rams turned over on downs their next two possessions. Gabe Orr juked out their defense for a touchdown. Moments later, Rich intercepted a Schuyler pass and ran 22 yards for six more points. Sam Schwanke recovered a fumble and North Shelby offense took over again. Casey Shockley received a pass for a 33-yard gain, and Fredrickson scored on the next play.
“I was happy with the way our kids reacted,” Stuckey said. “They’ve learned that stress isn’t gonna kill them. We made big plays at the end of the second quarter to pull that game back within reach. We talk about playing every play all the way through, playing through the end of every quarter, and playing through the end of every drive. We got away from them there right before the end of the half, which was really critical for us.”
The Rams had to punt both of their possessions in the third quarter and NS scored thrice more. The rest of the fourth quarter was played by NS JV under a running clock. Sam Launius reached the end zone with 48 seconds left in the game, and Cole Browning had the conversion. The Rams scored at last on their kickoff return. The game ended with handshakes and final score of 74-30.
North Shelby Football will play again Friday, September 23, at Knox County.