Shelbyville upsets Joaquin with fourth quarter comeback, 22-21

Two-point conversion attempt late in game makes the difference

The Joaquin Rams hosted the Shelbyville Dragons for a Friday the 13th showdown underneath a full moon at Ram Stadium with Shelbyville coming out on top, 22-21 in a come from behind victory.

The last time there was a full moon on Friday the 13th was in October of 2000, and the next one isn’t slated to happen for another 30 years. Superstition wasn’t enough to keep fans of either team away from this county rivalry game.

Ram Stadium was full to the brim with spectators.

The Dragons entered this game with a record of 1-1, while the Rams boasted a 2-0 start to their season.

Shelbyville entered this game the underdog after suffering a 31-0 defeat at the hands of Joaquin just last year, but as we all found out by the end of this one, a lot can change over the course of a year.

Joaquin won the toss and elected to defer to the second half. The Dragons received the kickoff, and the game was underway.

The Rams’ defense held the Dragons back from first-down yardage forcing Shelbyville to punt the ball away. Joaquin would then march the ball down the field capping the drive off with a quarterback sneak and a one-yard touchdown for Connor Bragg.

Jesus Bravo tacked on the extra point putting the Rams ahead 7-0 with 2:28 left in the first quarter. Following the touchdown, Joaquin pulled a fast one with a surprise onside kick. The Dragons were caught off guard, and the Rams came up with the football.

The Dragons didn’t fare much better early in the second quarter. Bravo made a huge defensive play for the Rams, when he stripped the ball from a Shelbyville running back’s hands and then recovered the fumble that he had created.

Lorenzo “Boogie” Lane ended another Joaquin offensive drive in the endzone, this time from two yards out. After Bravo’s successful field goal attempt, the Rams had built up a 14-0 lead over the Dragons.

Shelbyville quarterback Jordan Boykins led his offense down the field before hitting Jakory Standley on a screen pass that went for a touchdown. Joaquin would block the field goal attempt, and the first half would end Rams 14, Dragons 6.

With 7:47 left on the clock in the third quarter, Joaquin running back Gunner Nelson would take the ball across the goal line on a pitch to the left side of the field from about three yards out. After yet another successful Bravo extra point, Joaquin led the Dragons 21-6.

Up to the fourth quarter, Joaquin had maintained firm control over this ballgame.

The Dragons would need to buckle down on offense and defense to even have a shot at winning this one. Shelbyville quickly established that they weren’t out of this one yet, when Brinson took the ball the final two yards for a touchdown. With the score sitting at 21-12, Shelbyville elected to go for two. Boykins scrambled out of the backfield and dove across the line for a successful two-point try.

Now Shelbyville had narrowed the lead to seven points.

The next series of events only added to the suspense. It seemed that Friday the 13th had finally reared its head. Joaquin was forced to punt the ball back to Shelbyville. Shortly thereafter, the Dragons fumbled the ball, and Joaquin recovered with just under six minutes remaining in the game.

This was the Rams’ chance to put this game away, however, Joaquin’s luck was no better than the Dragons’ had been on the previous possession. A botched snap put the football on the ground, and this time, Shelbyville came away with the ball.

The Dragons had just over five minutes to get the ball into the endzone, if they wanted any chance at winning this one.

Shelbyville’s offense came up clutch. They were able to drive down the field into the red zone. With the ball spotted at the 18-yard line, Boykins dropped back to pass and found a wide open Kel Wilson running a seam down the middle of the field. After Wilson crossed the goal line, it didn’t take Shelbyville long to decide what to do.

“There was no decision. We knew that we had come over here to win a football game, and if we had a chance to do it, that’s what we were going to do,” Shelbyville Head Football Coach David Benbow said.

“Plus, with Joaquin and the way they do things, I don’t want to have to play anymore plays than I have to against those rascals,” he said.

“You saw what they did,” Benbow said. “Anybody else would panic and go crazy, but Coach Lawson and his staff run a top class program, and they stayed with what they did and gave themselves a chance, so that shows you why we had to make the decision we made.”

Down by one, Shelbyville lined up for the two-point attempt.

As soon as the ball was snapped, Boykins handed the ball off to Brinson. Brinson was met by three Ram defenders in the backfield, but he was not to be denied. Brinson somehow avoided being tackled and forced his way into the endzone for the lead.

Down by only one point, Joaquin still had a chance at the end on a long field goal attempt. Bravo had the leg, but the ball went wide right ending Joaquin’s night with a heart-breaking loss.

“You can go all the way back to the first half, we had opportunities to pull off and pull away from them, and we either missed blocks, turned the ball over, we didn’t capitalize on their mistakes,” Joaquin Head Football Coach Wade Lawson said.

“Credit to [Shelbyville], they bowed their neck, and they made stops,” Lawson said. “We’re up two scores in the fourth quarter, and we don’t get the job done. It’s as simple as that.

“I told our kids that they beat us straight up tonight,” he said. “There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. They were the better team tonight, they were the better coached team tonight, and all we can do is go back to the drawing board and fix our mistakes.

“We can’t win big ballgames making that many mistakes, that many penalties, that many turnovers,” Lawson said. “That’s not our brand of ball, and we’re going to fix that moving forward.”

Shelbyville quarterback Jordan Boykins gave a lot of credit for the Dragon victory to the front line.

“When you really want something, you can put your mind to it and really do it,” Boykins said. “My linemen were awesome tonight. We can’t do anything without them. We don’t go anywhere without the offensive line.”

Offensive linemen Eli Taylor and Keyshawn McCollister were both vital down in the trenches for the Dragons, Benbow said.

“That win is a payoff from offseason,” he said. “We work our offseason, we try to put them in adverse situations, we try to break them down, and try to make it as hard on them as possible Monday through Wednesday, so that on Friday when they get tested, they have something to draw on.”

Shelbyville is scheduled to travel to Troup this Friday for a 7 p.m., kickoff against First Baptist Dallas. The Rams are on the road at Corrigan-Camden for a kickoff at 7:30 p.m.

For a photo gallery from Friday's Joaquin vs. Shelbyville football game, please click on link below:

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