Dragons off to a hot start
The Shelbyville Dragons’ football season is off to a hot start after defeating the Beckville Bearcats 35-8 last Friday.
Shelbyville made the most of their rematch with the Bearcats after falling to them last year in a close 19-16 battle.
Following the coin toss, it was determined that the Bearcats would receive the ball first. Shelbyville’s defense hit the field ready to get the ball into their own offense’s hands, and that’s exactly what they did. After three plays, Beckville elected to punt the ball away.
Now with possession of the football, the Dragons hit the field prepared to show off their new-look spread offense. Unfortunately, Shelbyville was unable to get anything going. Bearcat defenders shut them down in the backfield on each of the Dragons’ first three plays.
With their own goal line just a few yards behind them, the Dragons also elected to kick the ball to the Bearcats, but then tragedy struck. The snapped ball sailed over punter LD Coleman’s head and into their end zone. Coleman made a valiant effort but was only able to collect the ball before being taken down in the end zone resulting in a safety.
A safety is devastating for the team on the receiving end. Not only does the team that accomplishes the safety get points, they also get possession of the football giving them yet another opportunity to score. Shelbyville’s defense hit the field and handed the Bearcat offense another three-and-out series.
This was the turning point for the Dragons’ offense. Senior running back Jaylon Brinson ate up huge chunks of yardage marching the Dragons down the field before scoring on a one-yard touchdown rush. Brinson would end the night with three rushing touchdowns and an impressive 230 yards.
“Jaylon [Brinson], he’s our bell cow. We go as he goes. We’re trying to be a little more diverse, obviously, this year. We’re trying to run Jordan [Boykins] a little bit more and we try to get AJ [Cartwright] in there,” said head football coach David Benbow.
“It’s nice because with Jaylon not having to play defense right now, and Jordan not having to play defense right now, that’s two sets of fresh legs behind that big offensive line, and once they figured it out they got it going for us, and moved them for us tonight,” Benbow said.
Shelbyville’s defense continued to prove too much for the Bearcats throughout the first half. In the second quarter, the Dragons got revenge for the safety earlier on in the night when Grady Clay returned the favor making the score 14-2, Dragons.
Shelbyville then capitalized on the safety by following it up with an AJ Cartwright rushing touchdown from 24 yards out. This made the score heading into halftime Dragons 21, Bearcats 2.
In the third quarter, Beckville used a little misdirection to increase their score total to eight. The quarterback tossed the ball to their running back who then reversed the ball to a receiver. That receiver then threw a nice pass to the quarterback who took it all the way for the touchdown.
This would mark the last time that Beckville would add points to the board.
Boykins crossed the goal line on a quarterback keeper in the third quarter giving Shelbyville a 28-8 lead. Brinson put a cap on the night with the final score of the game. Final: 35-8, Dragons.
When asked about his defense’s impressive first showing, Cartwright had this to say: “We were just ready to play. We wanted to redeem ourselves from the scrimmages, and we just came out with that energy and kept it going.”
Benbow the Dragons defensive effort was a key in the win.
“The first game is the first game you’re going to see some mistakes. They were under the lights. There were some nerves,” he said.
“Some of the guys hadn’t played in two or three years, so those things are going to happen, but we persevered, we hung in, we didn’t let it get us down, and once we started making some plays, we got a little confidence,” Benbow said. “That’s why coach Stewart and I agree that defense is what’s got to win you championships.
“If the defense is right, we can get the offense going. That’s a credit to coach Stewart and the rest of the staff to get that defense ready to play,” said Benbow.
Shelbyville will hope to continue their success this Friday as they travel this week to face the Sabine Cardinals.