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Neither team should be lacking for motivation tonight when Shelby County hosts Jeffersontown in the second round of the Class 5A playoffs.
The Rockets are looking to continue their resurgence and earn a spot in next week’s region final.
The Chargers, meanwhile, are trying to end Shelby’s season and avenge a 41-29 loss back on Sept. 7 in Jeffersontown.
“They’re going to come in with the revenge factor,” Rockets Coach Todd Shipley said. “This is going to be a very tough game.”
The first game between the two was tough, and competitive.
In that meeting the Chargers (7-4) led, 14-7, before Shelby (9-2) scored 20 consecutive points and 34 of the next 41. Chase Manica’s 95-yard kickoff return sparked the Rockets’ rally, and Zach Shipley and Michael Barry carried much of the offensive load.
Shipley completed 15 of 24 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns. Three of those TDs were to Barry, who hauled in six catches for 123 yards.
“Michael had some great catches,” Shipley said. “He made a phenomenal catch [for a touchdown] on one of their best athletes.”
Shelby County outgained J-town, 363-223, in total offense that night.
“We had trouble running the ball until late in the game,” Shipley recalled. “We played well enough defensively [though]. We really only held them to two scores.”
Of the Chargers’ four touchdowns, one came on a fumble return and another came with 2 seconds to play in the game.
Jeffersontown, the runner-up behind John Hardin in District 3, beat Bullitt East, 17-16, in the first round of the playoffs in a game that was marred by a bench-clearing brawl. No players were ejected, though, so J-town should be at full strength for the rematch.
In J-town’s second 1-point victory of the season over Bullitt East, senior running back Richard Deloney rushed for 100 yards and one touchdown, and junior quarterback Kendrick Gardner passed for 110 yards and rushed for 38 yards and one TD.
Deloney rushed for 98 yards on Sept. 7, while Gardner completed just 5 of 23 passes for 89 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
For the season Deloney, who has played in nine games, has rushed for 934 yards (104 per game) and eight TDs, and Gardner has passed for 1,342 yards and 11 TDs (against eight interceptions) and rushed for 328 yards and six TDs.
“[Number] two [Deloney] can do a lot of things, but [number] seven [Gardner] makes them go,” Shipley said. “You know when two is in the backfield he’s going to get it. But when seven drops back, you don’t know what he’s going to do.”
When Gardner does throw the ball, his top targets are seniors Mikal Howard (33 catches, 547 yards, 3 TDs) and Jawayne Rose (18 receptions, 350 yards, 2 TDs).
And although J-town’s offense should test a staunch Shelby defense – which has allowed just 15.1 points, 111.7 rushing yards and 118.7 passing yards per game – Shipley said he is hoping his offense, which is averaging 27.6 points and 310.8 yards of total offense, can challenge the Chargers.
“Offensively we have to find ways to put them out of position, we have to figure out some things to catch them off guard so we can create some good matchups,” he said.
Jeffersontown at Shelby County, 7:30 p.m.
Records: Jeffersontown 7-4, Shelby County 9-2.
Coaches: J – Nathan Jones (1st year, 7-4); SC – Todd Shipley (13th year, 65-78).
JHS team stats: 27.9 points per game (23.8 opponents’ ppg); 198.6 rushing yards per game (135.5 orypg); 125.9 passing yards per game (111,7 opypg).
JHS key players: RB/DB Richard Deloney (No. 2; 115 carries for 934 yards, 8 TDs); QB Kendrick Gardner (No. 7; 79-for-150 passing for 1,342 yards, 11 TDs and 8 INTs & 73 rushes for 328 yards, 6 TDs); RB/LB Charvez Strickland (No. 1; 94 rushes for 743 yards, 8 TDs); WR/DB Mikal Howard (No. 21; 33 catches for 547 yards, 3 TDs); WR/DB Jawayne Rose (No. 10; 18 catches for 350 yards, 2 TDs); DL Raymond Brown (No. 51); LB Isaac Winstead (No. 4).
SCHS team stats: 27.6 ppg (15.1 oppg); 173.5 rypg (111.7 orypg); 137.3 pypg (118.7 opypg).
SCHS stat leaders: QB/S Zach Shipley (101-for-195 passing for 1,640 yards, 21 TDs, 4 INTs & 109 rushes for 524 yards, 8 TDs & 33 tackles); WR/DB Michael Barry (43 catches for 792 yards, 12 TDs & 9 INTs); WB Chase Manica (81 rushes for 566 yards, 8 TDs & 14 catches for 290 yards, 5 TDs); TE/LB Deric Hyman (6 catches for 85 yards, 2 TDs & 98 tackles); DE Devin Ashton (44 tackles); FB/DL Justin Stewart (73 carries for 385 yards, 1 TD); OL/LB Jacob Hudgens (48 tackles); LB Nick Waurio (48 tackles); FB/LB Malik Manica (20 rushes for 271 yards, 5 TDs & 62 tackles); WB Earl Stoudemire (32 carries for 210 yards, 2 TDs); WR/DB Dalton Thompson (11 catches for 120 yards, 1 TD & 23 tackles); DL Jalyn Perry (21 tackles).