John Curtis Daily Union Sports Editor
Shelbyville Daily Union
---- — Maroa had been talking trash the last few weeks leading up to the JFL heavyweight match-up between the Trojans and the Shelbyville Rams. On Saturday night, the Rams did their talking on the field, winning 52-19.
“This was a great win for us, our fans, and our town,” said Ram coach Matt Cloe. “We have been fortunate enough to have beaten Maroa for the past 3 years and this one was probably the most satisfying for us. We had a lot invested in this game, as we do most games, but this one seemed to have a bit more to it.”
Undefeated and conference leading Shelbyville scored 18 unanswered points in the 1st quarter, while the Rams defense forced two 3 and outs and gave up only one 1st down on three Maroa possessions. Shelbyville upped their lead to 44-6 before the half and Maroa wasn’t talking trash anymore. All you could hear from the other side were crickets. Shelby shut up the Trojans, except for the whining.
A Maroa coach complained about being the recipients of the mercy rule, the running clock after a 30-point lead. He continued to whine and was thrown out of the game and had to leave the field.
“Overall, we performed well as a team,” Coach Cloe said. “Our running game was pretty sharp tonight and we put up a lot of yards on the ground. They had a lot of trouble adjusting to our option schemes and that shows in our rushing numbers.”
Shelbyville had 398 yards and four touchdowns rushing the ball. The Rams had 161 yards passing and three more touchdowns. They put up a total of 559 yards of offense and seven touchdowns.
Shelbyville had planned to leave the starters in through the 3rd quarter. With the running clock, the 4th quarter came quick. The Rams got one possession in the 3rd and had to punt. After the Ram defense stopped Maroa on the first possession of the 4th, the 2nd string Ram offense took the field.
“Defensively we had a nice game as well,” Coach Cloe said. “We had several tackles for loss tonight and did a great job of pursuing the ball. We need to improve on our special teams in terms of contain on kickoffs and our kicking game. Overall, we were pleased with our performance tonight. Although not perfect, it was a great team effort and a win is always nice.”
Shelby B team went 3 and out and Maroa scored on a 3rd and 9 on a screen pass that was cut back, 44-13.
The Rams got one more possession in the 4th as time was ticking away. Mason Cameron returned the kickoff 25 yards. Then Tyler Gottfriedt got the ball.
His first run was arguably the most inspiring run in Shelbyville football over the last 9 years. He went 40 yards, fighting off a host of tacklers along the sideline. Over the last 15 yards he fought to stay in bounds and still pick up yardage no matter how many tacklers grabbed him.”
Gottfriedt got the ball again and ran for 10 yards. He got the ball again and ran inside the 15. Clayton Peterson ran the ball over the goal line on the next play with 1:07 left in the game. Brett Spears kick the extra points and Shelby was up, 52-13.
Maroa got a final score on their 2nd kick return for a touchdown and made the extra-point kick, 52-19.
Deondre Gregory scored all three Maroa touchdowns. He was the only one allowed to run kicks back. Teammates would take the kickoffs, but had to give the ball to Gregory all nine times. Two he ran back. The other score came on his screen pass reception and run.
Gregory was a strong runner, who could break many tackles, but he was all that Maroa had.
Prior to the game, former legendary Shelbyville coach Gerald Temples gave the pre-game speech to the Rams and stressed “T-E-A-M” over “I”. One player, no matter how good he was, was not going to beat a Shelbyville team effort.
Maroa won the coin-toss and deferred, big mistake. Shelby grabbed the momentum and never let go.
On the Rams 1st possession, quarterback Turner Pullen ran the option to the outside and kept the ball for a 49 yard gain. They ran the same play and he picked up 29 yards. Gottfriedt ran for 2 yards and Pullen ran it in on the next play after just a minute of play (8:56), 6-0.
On the first Maroa posession, they ran three plays all for loss and faced 4th and 20. After the punt, Shelby got the ball at their own 47.
Pullen rolled out again and kept the ball. He picked up 6 yards and was tackled by his face mask, giving them another 15 yards. A fumbled hand off was recovered by Maroa.
Maroa picked up a 1st down on a 19-yard Gregory run. Gottfriedt tackled the runner on the next play after 4 yards. Gottfriedt stopped him at the line of scrimmage on the following play. A screen pass picked up a couple yards and they faced 4th and 4. They ran for two and Shelby took possession,
Shelby had the ball at their own 30. Pullen ran the option again and picked up another 40 yards. They ran the same play again and he went the final 36 yards for the score. With 2:51 in the 1st, Shelby was up 12-0.
Maroa took the kick-off and went 3 and out, again. They punted to the Shelbyville 30. Brett Spears ran for 15 yards and a 1st down. Pullen was sacked, but there were multiple flags thrown. The personal foul on Maroa moved the ball to the Maroa 45.
After a illegal procedure against the Rams, Pullen uncorked a long pass to Gottfriedt. Gottfriedt came back for it, then eluded the defender and headed for the goal line. He beat the pursuit and took it in with 28.7 second left in the 1st, 18-0.
Gregory took the ensuing kick-off up the sideline for a score with 14.5 seconds left in the 1st, 18-6.
Maroa had an onside kick, but Shelby’s Eli Houska covered it. Pullen ran the option and picked up another 15 yards. On the first play of the 2nd quarter, Quinn Martz got the call and ran away from the defense for a 36 yard TD. With 9:50 left in the half, Shelby was up 24-6.
On the ensuing kick-off Peterson made the tackle for negative yardage. He mad the next tackle for zero yards. On the following play Maroa fumbled and Shelby recovered it at the Maroa 15.
On the first play of the possession, Pullen threw a fade to Spears in the corner of the end zone for their second touchdown in 47 seconds. Shelby led 30-6 with 9:03 still left in the half.
After a shanked kick-off Maroa had the ball at the Ram 36. Two negative plays left Maroa 3rd and 19. A pass off the receivers hands was picked off by Mason Cameron. Shelby had the ball at their own 22.
On the first play of that possession, Martz beat the coverage and accelerating when the pass from Pullen him in stride. He was free and clear and scored the 78 yard touchdown for the third score in 2 and a half minutes, 36-6.
It would be another 3 and out for Maroa. Facing 3rd and 12 at their own 42, they tried a reverse. the runner was corralled and as tried to evade tacklers he lost more yardage and was swallowed up by a host of Rams, like swarming raptors devouring their prey.
After the punt the Rams had the ball at the 50. A pitch to Spears went 21 yards. On 3rd and 9, Pullen was sacked. Facing 4th and a ton the pass was incomplete.
Maroa got the ball on downs. An incomplete pass was followed by Gottfriedt stooping a run for no gain. After another incompete pass, Shelby called time-out with 2:07 left in the half.
On 4th down, Maroa passed the ball and Cade Watson intercepted it at the Shelby 30. He eluded tacklers and recorded a 70-yard pick six. Gottfriedt’s extra-point kick was good with 1:51 left in the half, 44-6.
Maroa drove to the Shelby 38, but had 4th and 14. A halfback pass failed and the Rams had the ball again. A long pass was incomplete and the half ended.
Maroa got the 2nd half kick-off and drove to the Shelby 46, but a huge sack by two Rams made it 3rd and 19. Shelby took over on downs at their own 40. Shelby went 3 and out and punted into the 4th quarter.
Daric Austin had a sack bringing 4th and 9 and the Rams stopped Maroa on the next play. The Ram B offense took the field and was stopped. Gregory scored on his screen pass TD, then Gottfriedt set up the final Ram score with inspired “never let up” running.
“We had a great fan base and they did a great job as well,” Coach Cloe said. “I know the kids were excited to play in front of that many people. It is great when a community pulls together to support such a great bunch of kids. We had several of our ex-JFL players on hand with players from the 2004 final four team in addition to players and coaches from the 1987-89 teams as well. My mentor Gerald Temples gave the pregame speech and that was inspiring for our team. Coach is a great man with a passion for teaching kids. We were honored that he agreed to come give our pregame.”
1st (8:12) - SH Gottfriedt 3 yrd TD run (PAT Failed) 6-0
1st (6:04) - SH Pullen 40 yrd TD run (PAT Failed) 12-0
1st (1:52) - SH Gottfriedt 51 yrd TD pass from Pullen (PAT Failed) 18-0
1st (1:38) - Maroa 78 yrd KO return for TD (PAT Failed) 18-6
2nd (9:36) - SH Martz 41 yrd TD run (PAT Failed) 24-6
2nd (8:54) - SH Spears 28 yrd TD pass from Pullen (PAT Failed) 30-6
2nd (4:21) - SH Martz 82 yrd TD pass from Pullen (PAT Failed) 36-6
2nd (1:51) - SH Watson 59 yrd INT return for TD (Gottfriedt Kick) 44-6
4th (8:56) - Maroa 36 yrd TD pass (Pass for PAT) 44-13
4th (4:52) - SH Peterson 11 yrd TD run (Spears Kick) 52-13
4th (4:38) - Maroa 68 yrd KO return for TD (Kick for PAT) 52-21
Ram Stats: OFFENSE 559 yrds (7 TD’s); RUSHING 22/398 (4 TD’s): Pullen 6/176 (TD); Spears 2/ 45; Gottfriedt 6/ 91 (TD); Martz 3/ 62 (TD); Firnhaber 1/ 1; Peterson 1/ 11 (TD); Messado 3/ 12; PASSING: Pullen 3 for 5/ 161 yrds (3 TD’s); RECEIVING: Gottfriedt 1/ 51 (TD); Spears 1/ 28 (TD); Martz 1/ 82 (TD); DEFENSE: Tackles- Skowronski 11/ 4 for loss; Gottfriedt 11/ 6 for loss; Peterson 11/ 3 for loss; Pullen 9/ 3 for loss; Hoene 7/ 2 for loss; Firnhaber 6; Austin 4/ 1 for loss; Watson 3; Fisher 3; Martz 2; Bly 2; Houska 2; Blesky 1; Messado 1; Helton 1; Young 1; INTs: Watson, Cameron; FUMBLE RETURNS: Skowronski
Maroa Stats OFFENSE 30 yrds, TD: RUSHING: 31 for -8 yrds; Passing: 4 for 9 for 38 yrds (TD); KICK RETURNS: Gregory 2 TDs