SHELBY — It wasn’t always a pretty game, but Shelby beat Alberton-Superior 60-14 in the first round of the 8-Man playoffs. It was Shelby's first game in 29 days.
Between COVID quarantines and poor weather, 29 days is a long time to wait before suddenly jumping into the playoffs, but the Coyotes got right down to business with a strong rushing attack. Cameron Brusven started the scoring with a 16-yard touchdown run in the first, and then Bryce Lee added one from 11 yards out.
However, with that month-long break, the Coyotes also showed some signs of rust. Fumbles, penalties, and even blown coverage allowed the Mountain Cats to move the ball early, resulting in a 20-yard touchdown pass that got them on the board. Still, Shelby led 29-8 at halftime.
"I don’t think anybody has a blueprint for taking a month off after you played five games, but I think we ironed some of those things out kids played hard. They just had to see things that you know, you don't play a game. That's what happened. So I was proud of them. Second half that came out and I felt like we played more Coyote football for sure."
The story of the game was Shelby's lockdown defense. Good pressure from the front line forced Alberton-Superior’s Bryan Mask into throwing six interceptions. One was a pick-6 to Trenton Emerson, while senior Tabris Correa collected three by himself.
"The zone was working well, very well. And he was overthrowing his guys a lot," Correa said. "That's why our zone was working so well."
"We knew they like to throw the ball. We had a pretty good idea of what they were going to do and how they were going to do it. And you know, they got us a couple times," White said. "But you know, I can't say enough about our defense and the way they played. The ball hocked it, and the D-line had pressure and that's what you got to have. You got to have all three phases going."
Shelby's dominant run game continued throughout as the Coyotes racked up 385 rushing yards. Aidan Torgerson had a pair of rushing scores. Lee added his second in the fourth quarter.
But when they got to the red zone, the Coyotes found success through the air as well. Taylor Parsons hit Rhett Reynolds (who also recorded an interception) for short touchdown passes in the second and fourth quarters.
It’s safe to say the Coyotes were itching to break out, and they showed off their versatility in the process.
"I love it. That's why we put 60 points up, because we were hungry to be back out here," Reynolds said. "There's been a couple games where we've had some of our best players not even get the ball. Like Aidan, one game, had six touchdowns and next game, he got the ball twice. And that's just huge, like, just being so versatile. You can do whatever and beat teams."
"We've got about four or five kids, including Taylor (Parsons) who can run the ball, you got Bryce Lee got Tabris (Correa), Cam (Brusven), and Aidan (Torgerson). And then of course, Taylor, and, you know, Trenton Emerson showed you can do a little bit. So we're not a one headed monster for sure. So that's nice to be able to do that."
Shelby will be on the road next week against Park City.