MURFREESBORO — To say that the Golden Eagles can use Friday night’s non-region matchup against Class 6A Riverdale as a stepping stone for the rest of their season would be a huge understatement.
Despite coming up a little short in a 13-6 loss to the Warriors, Shelbyville Central battled for four quarters and fought through a number of injuries that held a few starters out of the game, as well as others that suffered battle wounds in the contest.
“We played extremely hard. This is by far the hardest we have played for four quarters in a game since I’ve been here at Shelbyville,” Eagle coach Josh Puckett said. “Riverdale has a lot of very good players, including a number of SEC commitments and Coach (Will) Kriesky does a good job. They are a quality program and they are ranked where they are in the state for a reason. For us to come over here and go tooth and nail with those guys says a lot about the direction our team is headed.”
Riverdale (4-0) entered the game undefeated, out-scoring its opponents 121-18 over the first three games, including a pair of shutouts.
Shelbyville Central (1-3) took the opening possession of the game and marched down the field before punching the ball into the end zone on a one-yard run by sophomore running back Raydon Creenshaw at the 6:19 mark of the first quarter.
The two-point conversion attempt was no good for the 6-0 lead.
“The opening drive was beautiful. We just banged and banged them. They have these guys that are big, long and can run. We wanted to hit them right up inside and we did that early. Of course they started sitting on that and it was hard to run around these guys,” Puckett said. “We had the two-point conversion nailed and kind of missed the snap there.”
The Warriors responded with a nice drive capped off by a Marcus Lloyd four-yard run with 1:35 to go in the opening frame. Khalil Arman was successful on the kick after for the 7-6 advantage.
Defensive play dominated the game from that point with Shelbyville Central collecting three takeaways and Riversdale snatching up one.
Kendall Trice had a pair of interceptions while Will Gallimore recovered a fumble for the Eagles.
The Warriors put together a game-winning drive midway through the fourth quarter to seal the deal.
Alexander Mitchell hauled in a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jameson Holcomb with 7:03 left to play. The kick after was no good leaving the score 13-6.
Shelbyville Central had a couple of scoring opportunities from that point, but the Riverdale defense with-stood the challenge and intercepted a pass to end any chance of the upset.
“I told our guys you’ve got to learn how to be in these games first and then you can learn how to win them,” Puckett said.
“We were in this one for four quarters. Now we have to figure out a way to win them.”
The Eagles collected 250 yards of total offense while the Warriors accumulated 243.
Playing on an injured foot, Shelbyville Central senior quarterback Kade Cunningham was 12-of-24 for 125 yards in the air.
His top receiver was Gavin Donegan with a pair of receptions totaling 54 yards. He also had 50 yards on three returns.
Cam Grogan hauled in five catches for 39 yards with Trice collecting five for 32 yards.
Creenshaw rushed for 45 yards on 15 touches.
“I want to point out that our senior running back Laquan Young was out with an injury and we ran sophomores all the game. I’m very proud of Raydon Creenshaw and Theo Washington,” Puckett said.
Holcomb passed for 135 yards, going 14-of-17 with a TD and two picks.
Lloyd rushed for 101 yards on 20 carries for the winners.
“We are wasting some really good defensive games by not scoring much on offense,” Puckett said. “Our defense is really playing well and to hold this Riverdale offense to only 13 points is a huge achievement.”
“We have a lot of guys injured and others playing hurt and this bye week could not come at a better time,” Puckett said.
Shelbyville Central returns to action on September 24 against Kenwood for Homecoming.
Shelbyville Central 6 0 0 0 — 6
Riverdale 7 0 0 6 — 13
SC – Raydon Creenshaw 1 run, (run failed), 6:19.
R – Marcus Lloyd 4 run, (Khalil Arman kick), 1:35.
R – Alexander Mitchell 15 pass from Jameson Holcomb, (kick failed), 7:03.
THE YARD STICK
Rushing Yards 125 108
Passing Yards 125 135
Total Yards 250 243
First Downs 11 10
Penalties-Yards 5-45 9-80
Turnovers 1 3
Returns-Yards 4-59 2-43
Time of Possession 26:33 21:27