(T-G Photo by Gary Johnson)
Trailing 7-0 going into the fourth stanza, the Golden Eagles (3-5, 1-3 8-AAA) saw the Wildcats (5-3, 3-1 8-AAA) scored 21 points in the final 7:16 of the game to secure second place in the district standings.
"Despite missing a number of scoring opportunities earlier in the game, we still had a chance going into the fourth quarter only down 7-0. I thought our defense played the best they've played all year and they kept us in the game," Central coach Jason Hardy said. "Offensively, we moved the ball but just shot our self in the foot time after time after time."
(T-G Photo by Gary Johnson)
It was a game of missed opportunities for Shelbyville, especially late in the first half when the Eagles blew a great chance to even the score after failing to put the ball into the end zone after having the ball first and goal on the one-yard line.
"That's been the story of this team the past two years. We just fail to get the hard yards," Hardy said. "We've challenged this team for two weeks to get the hard yards and we just didn't get it done. I guess we should have kicked the field goal but when it's first and goal from the one you've got to put the ball into the end zone."
The Eagles reached the Tullahoma 31, 18 and one yard line on three of four first-half drives and had nothing to show for it at halftime.
"We're a big play offense and seemed like tonight every time we tried to take a shot something went wrong. Our mistakes in this game really cost us," Hardy said. "Give Tullahoma a lot of credit, they gave us a lot of short stuff but didn't allow a big play and every time we tried to put a long drive together we would make some type of mistake."
Tullahoma's lone score in the first half was a 23-yard pass from Justin Brown to Zane Price.
The Wildcats added three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter, a one-yard run by Brown, a 21-yard pass from Brown to Riley Darden and 100-yard pass interception return by Price.
Shelbyville entered the game with five starters out for the season with injuries as well as a couple others nursing an injury. To make matters worse, standout senior Marquis Morton suffered a game-ending shoulder injury right before the first half after a late hit out-of-bounds that didn't draw a penalty.
"Marquis should be fine, the x-ray was OK and he just suffered an apparent shoulder sprain," Hardy said.
Trey Burkes led the Wildcats with 41 yards on 13 carries.
Marquis Lyons led the Eagles with 62 yards on seven touches while Morton had 53 yards on 15 attempts, all in the first half.
Brown was 9-of-17 for 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Shelbyville quarterback Brayden Ward connected 12-of 24 for 74 yards and two interceptions.
Shelbyville entertains talented Centennial on Senior Night Friday at 7.
Tullahoma 0 7 0 21 -- 28
Shelbyville 0 0 0 0 -- 0
T -- Zane Price 23 pass from Justin Brown (Cody Morton kick), 8:19.
T -- Brown 1 run (Morton kick), 7:16.
T -- Riley Darden 21 pass from Brown (Morton kick), 5:13.
T -- Price 100 interception return (Hayden Hines kick), 2:40.