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By Andi Belt
North Shelby hosted the Princeton Tigers for the first round of district play on Friday, November 3, 2023. The Raiders secured their spot in the district championship with a final score of 76-40.
The game was scoreless until eight minutes left in the first quarter, when Princeton scored their touchdown and two points. With the first points of the game on the board, the Raiders trailed 8-0.
The next points of the game wouldn’t come until under two minutes left to play in the first. Gabe Orr ran in for a Raider touchdown, and Jade Daniel pushed through to get the extra two for NS. North Shelby tied the score, 8-8.
The Tigers were quick to pounce in the second quarter. A quick touchdown pass and two-point handoff put the Tigers up 16-8.
The Raiders did not waste any time, as freshman Gannon Bowen returned the following kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown. Cole Browning ran it in for two more to tie the game for the Raiders, 16-16. North Shelby was able to get a turnover on downs, following a sack by TJ Belt.
NS was quick to score again, this time Daniel rushing for a touchdown and Bowen getting the extra two. With less than 10 minutes left in the half, the Raiders were up 24-16.
Daniel would come up with a big interception on the defensive side of the ball, getting the offense back on the field. NS would find themselves adding eight more to the scoreboard, with a touchdown pass and a successful two-point run by Orr.
Princeton was looking to score and was able to answer with eight more points of their own. A quick run for 6 and a successful two-point play made the score 32-24 with 6 minutes left in the half.
North Shelby quickly got some momentum back with a huge pass to Oren Vanksike. Vanskike would take it all the way to the one-yard line setting up the Raider offense for success. Daniel would get his second touchdown of the night and plow through for the extra two, extending their lead to 40-24.
With two minutes left in the half, Sam Schwanke recovered a fumble to set up the Raider’s last scoring drive of the half. Jade Daniel would get pushed over the goal line for his third touchdown of the night. After the Raiders walked it in for a successful two point, the score was 48-24.
The Raiders would come out on fire in the second half and only continue to run away with the game. Bowen would get his second touchdown of the night, followed by a two-point conversion from Orr to make the score 56-24.
Determined not to give up, Princeton rallied back with their own scoring drive. They would run it in for a Tiger touchdown followed by a successful two point, attempting to close the gap and making it 56-32. The Raiders would march their way back down the field, and Orr would get his second touchdown of the night, improving the score to 62-32.
The Raiders defense would come up big on the next possession, with a pick-six from Bowen. With Bowen’s third touchdown of the night and an extra two from Oren Vanskike, NS led 70-32. Princeton would quickly answer with their own touchdown and with the successful extra two, they made the score 70-40. North Shelby would score one more time before the end of the game, with a touchdown from Orr. With Orr’s third touchdown the Raiders wrapped up the game with a score of 76-40.
North Shelby looks to continue their impressive play into the district championship where they will take on the Schuyler County Rams.
The Raiders will take the field Friday, November 10, at Schuyler County with kickoff at 7:00 p.m.