The highs of a big emotional win can carry over and lead to a disappointment the next week.
After an important road win last week at Wyoming East, Shady Spring head coach Vince Culicerto knew that was a possibility. Fortunately his veteran Tigers had no such letdown as they posted their fourth shutout of the season in a 34-0 win over the visitors from Oak Hill Friday night in Shady Spring.
“I talked about it all week and knew it,” Culicerto said of avoiding an upset. “I was even on a hangover. That was a really (high) energy game and really exciting for us. I was worried about it, but the boys came out and did what they needed to do and took care of business.”
For the Tigers, the story was more of the same — capitalizing on turnovers.
After both teams traded punts on their opening drives, Shady struck first, getting set up in the red zone after recovering a fumble on an option pitch at the Oak Hill 16-yard line. Though unable to find the end zone, the leg of Erick Bevil saved the drive when the senior kicker split the uprights from 30 yards.
Afterward, the game became one of big plays for Shady, which used quick strikes to score.
“Offensively it was a more of a big-play night for us,” Culicerto said. “Usually we can grind out drives and keep them going, but tonight we were able to hit on a few big plays. We played well on that side of the ball and having Bevil is a luxury, too, when he can kick those field goals.”
Shady’s first big play of the game came in the waning moments of the first quarter as junior Isaiah Valentine scampered 24 yards to the end zone for the game’s first touchdown.
In the second quarter it was Bevil again who came through with a 31-yard boot to make it a 13-0 lead. While Shady was humming along, Oak Hill’s skill players struggled to catch the ball on a frigid night, often stalling drives and leaving big plays on the field.
“We missed some opportunities early with some dropped balls on offense,” Oak Hill head coach Jason Blankenship said. “We knew they were stingy giving up plays through the air on offense. Defensively I thought we did a good job of stopping the run and forcing some field goals. We had some key players out tonight which hurt us as well. We just need to learn from it. We were able to get young guys out here and get them some experience.”
Missing for the Red Devils was their newfound star, Te-amo Shelton. Despite that absence, Culicerto was impressed with the effort the Red Devils showed against his Tigers.
“They did well,” Culicerto said. “Oak Hill had some injuries at running back and we knew that and it was really hurting them. They moved the ball well at times, but our boys forced a few turnovers and had some big hits. They bent a little bit, but didn’t break. We stuffed them early on their first few possessions, but the defense played well.”
Shady finished the game with three takeaways — a fumble recovery by Stephen Crook and interceptions from Valentine and Jadon Hershberger.
Shady improves to 7-1 with the win and will host its final game of the regular season Friday when Braxton County comes to town. Oak Hill falls to 2-6 and will host Bluefield on Friday.
SS: 10 10 7 7 — 34
OH: 0 0 0 0 — 0
SS: Bevil 30 yd FG
SS: Valentine 24 rush (Kick Bevil), 1:43
SS: Bevil 31 yd FG, 9:11
SS: Chapman 4 rush (Kick Bevil), 1:20
SS: Clark 2 rush (Bevil kick), 2:26
SS: Valentine 30 rush (Bevil kick), 8:14
Rushing — SS: Chapman 9-33, Clark 11-53, Valentine 6-65, Harvey 2-8, Hershberger 1-7; OH: Sedlock 9-30, McFall 2-6, Lewis 14-76, Farrow 3-7, Maynor 2-10
Passing — SS: Clark 4-10-27-0; OH: Maynor 6-16-35-2
Receiving — SS: Bevil 1-5, Showalter 1-21, Valentine 1-1; OH: Farrow 1-2, Hall 3-11, Stump 1-7, McFall 1-15.
Takeaways — SS: Fumble Recovery (Crook), Interception (Valentine), Interception (Hershberger).