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Shelby County got a boost Friday when Alex Matthews returned from injury to lead the Rockets to a 40-18 win at Oldham County in the final game of the football regular season.
"He's our guy and it's always good to have him back there," SCHS head coach Todd Shipley said. "The big thing is he's back for the playoffs. It was a good boost for our team, but more than anything it's reassuring for him. To come out and perform like that after sitting out -- he had a nice game."
Matthews completed 23 of 36 passes for 386 yards and four touchdowns to pace the Rockets (6-4).
Matthews' return was also a big boost for receiver Jordan Burk. Burk finished with 10 catches for 197 yards and two scores, proving from the first snaps that Oldham (3-7) couldn't cover him.
"On our first possession we threw six passes, and the four completions were to Burk, including the touchdown," Shipley said. "Oldham gave us one-on-one coverage all night. Their philosophy is that they want to put pressure on your quarterback, and they think their defensive backs are better than your receivers. Our philosophy against one-on-one coverage is our receivers are better than your defensive backs, and I think we proved that one all night."
The Rockets ran the ball just twice in the first half, instead shredding the Colonels' secondary.
"They weren't giving us the run, so we just took what they gave us," Shipley said.
The Rocket defense also had a strong showing, allowing less than 250-yards of total offense, and recording three interceptions -- two from safety Jeremy McGruder.
"The defense has continued to do better each week," Shipley said. "And 96 of those yards we gave up came late in the fourth quarter when we had put our subs in the game. The defense has put together its two best games back-to-back now (including the Oct. 26 win over South Oldham). I think they've got a lot more confidence right now. They feel like they're playing better and they are. If you look at points on the board and yards allowed the kids are doing great."
The win also served a greater purpose, giving the Rockets the confidence of a two-game win streak going into the playoffs, which begin Friday at Scott County.
"I think this win was huge," Shipley said. "First off it was against Oldham County and that's always an important game. Secondly, it was our second win in a row and the frame of mind is a lot better going in the next game."
As far as this game serving as a good tune-up for Scott County, Shipley said yes and no.
"It was because we played well and did what we wanted to do, but the thing is Oldham's a heavy passing team while Scott County is heavy on the run. We'll have to change our mode for a more intense defensive attack to be ready for Scott County."
The Cardinals closed out the season with a 41-21 win over Greenwood. Scott County ended the season with a 9-1 record, the only loss a 38-7 set back on Aug. 31 against Lexington Catholic in the season's second week.