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By Mark Requet
The South Shelby Cardinals clinched the top seed in the Class 2, District 7 bracket with a 55-0 win over Palmyra on Friday, October 20, 2023, at South Shelby High School.
South Shelby and Palmyra both traded punts to start the game.
On the second possession for the Cardinals, it lasted 10 plays as the Panther defense kept the running game in check and forced the South Shelby to try a field goal. Kendal Hammond connected on a 25-yard field goal with 3:50 left in the first quarter to give the Cardinals a 3-0 lead.
Palmyra moved the ball to midfield on its next possession, but was forced to punt the ball.
South Shelby Head Coach Adam Gunterman stated he was impressed with Palmyra’s team.
“That is a team I would not want to see in the first round of district,” said Gunterman. “Whoever they play in the first round better be ready to play. They have a lot of pieces who do a lot of good stuff.”
Once the second quarter started, the Cardinals quickly regained its regular form of scoring touchdowns.
“We needed to see a little adversity and I thought we saw some in that first quarter,” said Gunterman. “Then we came out and did what we needed to do in the second quarter and it happened fast for us.”
The Cardinals took over on its own seven-yard line. On South Shelby’s third play of the drive, quarterback Chase Moellering completed a pass to Cameron Wiseman for 49 yards, giving the Cardinals a first down on the Palmyra 47-yard line. Hammond rushed for 10 yards, which was followed by two running plays from Moellering for a total of 21 yards. On the seventh play of the drive, Moellering completed a 14-yard pass to Preston Elsen for a touchdown. The two-point conversion was good, and the Cardinals led 11-0 with 9:32 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers moved the ball downfield on its next possession deep into Cardinal territory. On the seventh play of the drive, Wiseman intercepted a pass and returned it 91 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, and South Shelby led 17-0 with 6:35 left in the first half.
Palmyra was forced to punt on its next possession, which gave the ball back to the Cardinals at midfield.
Hammond opened the drive with a 16-yard run, followed by a six-yard completed pass from Moellering to Preston Elsen. Hammond finished the three-play scoring drive with a 26-yard touchdown run. The two-point conversion was good, and the lead was 25-0 with 3:21 left in the half.
Palmyra’s next possession ended with an interception by Preston Elsen for South Shelby. It took only two pass plays for the Cardinals to get on the scoreboard once again. Moellering’s second completion of the scoring drive was a 38-yard touchdown pass to Wiseman. The two-point conversion failed, and the Cardinals led 31-0 with 58 seconds left in the half.
The score at halftime was 31-0.
Palmyra started the second half with the ball and had to punt it back to the Cardinals, who took over at midfield.
Hammond took the handoff on the first play and went 48 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion pass from Moellering to Jaaron Durbin was good and the Cardinals led 39-0 with 9:45 left in the third quarter.
The Panthers next possession ended with an interception by Preston Elsen, his second of the game.
South Shelby took over at its own 33-yard line. On the third play of the drive, Moellering ran 60 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion pass from Moellering to Jordan Timbrook was good and the Cardinals led 47-0 with 1:45 left in the third quarter.
Palmyra’s next possession ended with a blocked punt by Aadon Magruder, which gave the ball back to the Cardinals at the Palmyra 16-yard line.
South Shelby’s final score of the game came on the third play of the drive with a three yard touchdown run by Moellering. The two-point conversion pass from Moellering to Owen Stueve was good and the lead was 55-0 with 8:20 left in the game.
Palmyra’s last possession of the game ended with an interception by Hunter Maubach as the Cardinals were able to run the clock out and win 55-0.
Unofficially, Moellering led the offensive attack,
completing 6-of-7 passes for 118 yards, including two touchdowns. He also rushed for 127 yards on nine carries, scoring two rushing touchdowns.
“People talk about all the players we have, but Chase was amazing tonight,” said Gunterman. “In every aspect of the game, he was fantastic. He generals the offense, he
checks when he needs to check, and he throws a really good football. We just don’t throw very much, but when we have to, it’s good to know that we can do it.”
Hammond rushed for 135 yards on 10 carries, scoring two touchdowns.
Wiseman had three receptions for 92 yards and one touchdown. Preston Elsen added three receptions for 26 yards and one touchdown.
On defense, the Cardinals had four interceptions, two by Preston Elsen. Wiseman added a interception for a touchdown, while Maubach added one late in the fourth quarter.
“Defense was great. Our DBs (defensive backs) have been great all year,” added Gunterman.
The Cardinals finished up the regular season with a 9-0 record, winning the Clarence Cannon Conference with a 7-0 record.
When the game was over, Gunterman expressed to his team that this was just the first goal.
“I told them to celebrate this win for one day,” said Gunterman. “That’s one of the goals for this season, but that’s just one of them. We have a lot more goals to get, but the road comes through South now. and that’s a big deal.”
As the top seed, the Cardinals received a first-round bye. They will host the winner of the Clark County/Palmyra game on Friday, November 3, beginning at 7 p.m.