Red Raiders in Win ColumnůSouth Point Outduels Shelby, 44-39

September 7, 2014

Rekindling a storied and traditional rivalry ignites gridiron excitement! The scenario plays out - two teams share a past, one suffers more heartbreaking losses while the other owns the bragging rights. The teams are ready, the fans are ready, and the stage is set. Somebody's gonna' get hurt...well at least somebody's feelings, that is!

With a series that dated to South Point's inaugural season, the Golden Lions of Shelby boast the only winning record (minimum 10 games) against the Red Raiders. Having last met in 1996, a South Point loss, the Red Raiders trail in the series, winning 13 games and dropping 20. The dominance by Shelby had always "stuck in the craw" of the Red Raider faithful. And the end of the seasonal matchups seemingly brought an end to the hopes of proving that the better team hails from southeastern Gaston County. But things were about to change. Returning to the schedule, Shelby invited South Point to Blanton Stadium offering the Red Raiders a run at redemption. The Raiders eagerly accepted! The pain of two opening losses forgotten, South Point stood ready for the challenge and the Big Red took charge early to send the message.

South Point kicked off to begin the game and the Red defense fought hard out of the gate. A tackle for loss and an incomplete pass had the Raiders in fine shape. But Shelby would prove themselves capable of big plays and they were able to sustain the drive, moving into South Point territory. South Point's 'D' tried to bend and not break, forcing the Lions to run several plays before Shelby broke through for the opening touchdown on a five yard pass and a 7-0 lead. The Golden Lions showcased an impressive kicking game and the Red Raiders would begin offensive play at the 20 yardline following a touchback. With the first play from scrimmage, Tanner Muse took a quick pitch from quarterback Jaquan Brooks and then the speedy back took a quicker line to the outside, racing eighty yards for the South Point score. The PAT failed but the scoreboard was a little less lopsided! On Shelby's next play from scrimmage, the Red Raiders forced a fumble, recovering at the Lions' twenty-seven. Brooks then called his own number and burst up the middle for the 27 yard touchdown run. The conversion was unsuccessful but with only two offensive plays South Point had taken a 12-7 lead. The first quarter clock read 8:28 and it was far too early to expect the Golden Lions to fade. The Red Raiders kept the pressure up. A defensive hold put South Point in good position to increase their advantage. But a solid drive stalled outside the Shelby sixteen and the Raiders were forced to attempt a field goal. The kick was blocked and South Point seemed to assume that the play had been blown dead. Instead, the play ended in a tragic turn as Shelby would scoop up the loose ball and take it 67 yards for the go ahead score. The two point conversion ended all scoring in the first quarter. The bookend touchdowns for Shelby gave them the lead at 15-12 as the second stanza began.

On a possession that carried over between quarters, the Red Raiders opened play in the second at their own 44 yardline. A workmanlike drive took the Raiders to the Lions' seven. Muse carried in from there and Nick Farmer's kick was true putting South Point back in front at 19-15. For the next nine minutes the teams would trade two punts each. Then with Shelby in possession deep inside Raiders territory, and time ticking down to the half, Muse stepped in front of a Golden Lions' pass. The senior never broke stride and was never challenged en route to the endzone and a 25-15 halftime advantage. Momentum had clearly swung back to South Point, but 24 minutes remained and the Golden Lions didn't seem the type to give up. And so began the third...

Holding a ten point lead and receiving the ball to begin the second half had the Raiders set to nail down victory...or at least gather the hammer and nails! But sometimes the oblong shape of the football just will not bounce like it should, and the Red Raiders' advantage was immediately erased by a fumble recovered by Shelby at the South Point sixteen. The Golden Lions converted and inched closer to the Red Raiders at 25-22. South Point would once again costs themselves with another turnover. This one came during a promising drive to the Golden Lions' thirty-one. Shelby drove the field and took control with a touchdown, reclaiming the lead at 29-25. The Red Raiders were in need of a positive, if not big, play. They got both at once when Brooks hit Jeffrey Pearsall for a 73 yard catch and run for a South Point score! Farmer was good on the extra point and the Raiders forged back ahead 32-29. An errant Shelby field goal attempt ended the scoring chances for both teams in the third quarter. The Golden Lions owned the third by a 14-7 advantage but South Point owned the scoreboard. Possession of the fourth quarter would seemingly "tell the tale" and neither team was willing to back down.

With the ball resting at the Lions' 35, South Point was in position to hold the advantage. And hold they did! A thirty-two yard touchdown run by Brooks opened the scoring in the final refrain. The Raiders lead moved to nine at 38-29, but plenty of time remained. The Lions put together a drive that began at their thirty yardline, but the Red 'D' was equal to the task. With both squads scoring almost at will throughout the contest, the challenge near the end became to hold the opponent to fewer points. South Point gained that advantage by holding Shelby to a field goal on the Lions initial possession of the fourth. The six point lead for South Point, 38-32, was tenuous. Over seven minutes remained in regulation, both teams scored on their opening drives of the quarter, and the pressure was on to reach the finish line with the lead! The Red Raiders offense met the challenge. Beginning at their 22 yardline, the Red 'O' burned nearly six minutes off the clock on a drive that ended with a Brooks 27 yard touchdown run. South Point's advantage stood at 44-32 with 1:17 to go and the Red Raiders were poised to earn their first victory of the season. But this was Shelby across the field, the Shelby that holds an all time lead in head-to-head matchups against the Raiders, the Shelby that is expected to make a deep run in the playoffs later this year, the Shelby that had answered each bell every time South Point had knocked them to the mat! The Golden Lions used the final minute of play to set up an opportunity for an onside kick and a shocking, painful conclusion to the contest. Their touchdown with 29 seconds remaining brought them to within five of the Red Raider lead. The painful conclusion though shifted to the Lions as South Point successfully covered the onside kick and immediately took a knee to seal the 44-39 victory!

Coming in with two losses, South Point would be challenged by a Shelby team that held an historical advantage over the Raiders. But the rivalry would not be the only resurrection of the night as South Point's pride was pulled from the depths. Asked what the mood had been during the week of practice and how they were able to turn things around, Jaquan Brooks claimed that "we just wanted it, Coach was just telling us that it was 'our time', so we just wanted it." His teammate, Jeffrey Pearsall added that in the first two games, "we were our own worst enemy, we weren't prepared in practice, but this week we got together". He suggested that the team now sees the value in continuing to work and improve. With a win under their belt, the confidence is sure to soar. This group of Red Raiders now believes in themselves and in each other and knowing how to win may prove to be the final piece of the puzzle as the season continues. Keep drivin', Red!

Go Get 'Em, Red!

Notable Facts and Thoughts

South Point will return to action on September 19th when they host AC Reynolds. The Rockets are 1-3 on the season winning their first game last Friday night at South Caldwell. From a common opponent review (assuming such comparisons are ever worth noting), Shelby defeated Reynolds 26-14 a week before the loss to South Point.

JV Shelby uses air power to overpower JV Red Raiders, 35-14

JV Report by Calvin Craig

The Golden Lions QB scored Shelby's first four touchdowns through the air with different receivers as the Red Raiders hosted the Shelby at Lineberger Stadium. Three of Shelby's touchdowns came in the first half as the Lions defense was able to hold South Point scoreless, 21-0 at the end of the half.

South Point's JV squad came out of halftime fired up and immediately scored on their first drive with a Scottie Lee 3 yard touchdown. The drive was keyed by a 25 yard pass from Lee to Jake Alexander to take the Red Raiders to the Shelby 3 and Lee punched it in with the next play to put South Point on the board at 21-7.

The Golden Lions answered this touchdown with a 5-play touchdown drive of their own capped by a 17 yard touchdown pass to put Shelby up 28-7.

Not to be outdone the Red Raiders fought back in the 4th quarter.

Following a Shelby muffed punt giving the Red Raiders the ball at the Shelby 19, South Point was able to score on a Ty Tinker 2 yard run. This drive was also keyed by a big pass play from Scottie Lee to Nareel Patel for 17 yards. This closed the gap to 28-14 and South Point seemed to be in business again.

Nick Farmer placed the kickoff in an area of the field where Alexander was able to recover and the Red Raiders were driving again, but a miscue near the endzone sealed the game for Shelby and lead to the final score 35-14.

South Point's JV will take the next week off and resume their schedule Thursday, September 18 with a road trip to play Crest's JV squad.

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