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High school football: Execution is key for the Rockets

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Mistakes grounded Shelby’s offense in opener

By Todd Martin

The Shelby County Rockets will hit the road again this week to face another boarder rival with a 7:30 kick-off at Spencer County High School.

The game was nearly moved to Shelby County after the Bears’ field was hit by lightning two weeks ago, forcing Spencer to hit the road in its opener at Thomas Nelson.

That game played less than half of a quarter, however, before it was called due to the weather with Spencer County leading 7-0.

But in just a few minutes of play, the Bears (1-0) had already amassed 115 rushing yards on just five carries.

“They are a very good running team,” SCHS Coach Todd Shipley said. “Last year they had two very fast guys, and one of them [No. 17, Kynan Smith] is back this year.”

But of the Bears 115 yards last week, none came from Smith. Instead Logan Holbrook picked up 54 yards and a touchdown on three carries and Brandon Leff had 61 yards on just two carries.

But it’s not just a stable of backs that Shipley and the Rockets will have to keep an eye on.

“Last year they didn’t run as well against us, at least not like they normally did, but they hit three big passes of more than thirty yards, and two went for touchdowns.”

In the opener, Spencer’s Jacob Derudder was 1-for-1 for 16 yards. And his one completion went to Holbrook.

As for the Rockets, Shipley said the game plan would be simple – execute.

“Our offensive execution was good at all [last week at Henry County],” he said. “We ran thirty plays and they ran about seventy – We had a one-play drive end in a fumble, a one-play dive end in a safety and the we punted three times after a three-and-out. We just didn’t do much at all.”

Shipley said the Rockets missed too many blocks, dropped two many passes – “We dropped at least two or three passes that would have been easy first downs.” – and the offensive struggles hurt the defense.

Even with those struggles, though, the Rockets managed to get 187 yards passing from senior quarterback Britton Woolwine, who connected on 10-of-25 passes. Half of those completions went to fellow senior Breaman Harris, who finished with 120 yards and a touchdown.

Shelby will need to run the ball better, though, after finishing with just 46 yards rushing on 13 attempts at Henry County.

“We left our defense in bad field position too many times,” he said. “I thought our defense actually played pretty well. They [Henry County] scored all sixteen points in the first quarter and a touchdown and a safety came from mistakes on offense. Henry County played well, but we helped them an awful lot.”

In a 48-25 win over Spencer County last year, the Rockets took advantage of three interceptions and a fumble recovery to slow the Bears offense.

“I think our defense is playing pretty well,” Shipley said. “We made a couple mistakes last week, but overall I think we played well. We’ll need to do that again this week.”