12/14/2019 1:58:00 PM Shelby Wins 12th State Title
Wayne Howard Staff Writer
The game started out with Shelby fumbling on the return of the opening kickoff, but after that, the Golden Lions proved that Salisbury was no match, taking a 34-0 win in the NCHSAA 2AA Football Championship game.
After Shelby's fumble, Salisbury went three and out, then the Lions did the same; but on the Hornets' next possession a snap over the punter's head gave Shelby the ball in Salisbury territory. Donye Fuller ran for 33 yards to set up a 9-yard 'wildcat' run by Ja'hari Mitchell and Caden Sheely's EP kick made it 7-0. On their third possession of the game, Shelby went for it on a fourth and 2 and Mitchell ran around left end for a first down. Diovanni Daley then caught a 23-yd pass and a 10-yd pass on another fourth down to set up another touchdown by Mitchell early in the second quarter. This time the Hornets rushed the EP kick try and the score remained 13-0.
A Daley interception of a Salisbury pass with 8:32 left in the first half gave the Lions the ball at their own 32-yard line. From there, they mounted another scoring drive with Daley catching a 38-yard touchdown pass and Sheely's kick made it 20-0 at the half. In the first half, Shelby held the Hornets, known for a strong rushing attack, to -31 yards on the ground and only 24 through the air. Shelby's offense also dominated the Salisbury defense which had only allowed more than 12 points in two games this season--two games that they lost. Shelby had 72 yards rushing and 101 yards passing in the first two quarters.
Mitchell's second touchdown run made him the all-time season scoring leader at Shelby High School, surpassing the previous mark set by Travis (Antwan) Roseboro in 1998. Roseboro had 182 points that season; with his second TD Saturday, Mitchell had 186.
Taking the second half kickoff, Salisbury appeared to have overcome some of their problems. A fake punt gave them a first down at Shelby's 36-yard line, but from there, they turned the ball over on downs. Shelby marched down the field but a bad snap with 5:31 left in the third quarter was recovered by Salisbury. Their quarterback made a first down on a fourth and one play, but then Jack Hollifield sacked him on another fourth down play and Shelby got another TD on yet another Mitchell run at the end of the third period to lead 27-0.
Passes to Daley & Mitchell set up Shelby's final score. After Mitchell's catch, they had the ball at the two-yard line, first and goal, but a false start moved them back five yards, then Fuller was tackled for a two-yard loss. That's when sophomore Luke Williams caught his first and only TD pass of the season on a throw from Isaiah Bess and Sheely's kick made it 34-0 with 7:46 left in the game.
Mitchell was named the Most Valuable Player of the championship game.
In the other NCHSAA state championship games:
1A: Robbinsville 45, Northampton County 14 1AA: East Surry 56, Tarboro 28 2A: Reidsville 14, Northeastern 0 3A: Charlotte Catholic 23, Southern Nash 7 3AA: Weddington 34, Lee County 14 4A: East Forsyth 24, Cardinal Gibbons 21 4AA: Zebulon Vance 24, Leesville Road 3
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