JOHN CURTIS - Daily Union Sports Editor
SHELBYVILLE, IL. — Four Big Plays gave Central A&M the edge at Shelbyville on Friday night as they held off a late Ram charge to win, 27-20.
Jason Pokalsey broke free for 64 yards and scored on the second play of the game. Zach Ballinger had an 81 yard TD run on the 1st play of a drive in the 2nd quarter.
In the 3rd, A&M QB Nielson hit a wide open Richardson for an 81 yard pass play that went to the 3 yard line. Butts ran it in on the next play.
In the 4th quarter, Butts broke free on the first play of a possession for a 27 yard TD, after a short punt gave A&M possession inside Ram territory.
Besides those four big plays, A&M was held to just 67 yards of total offense.
After Pokalsey's early TD, Trent Chepan kicked the extra point.
Shelbyville had a sustained drive on their first possession, going 68 yards on nine plays. Ram QB Lucas Duckett hit tight end Luke McConnell as he crossed the end zone for the final three yards. Dylan Patch kicked the extra point and the game was tied with 8:00 left in the 1st, 7-7.
With 8:26 in the 2nd period, Zach Ballinger broke tackles and 81 yards for a TD on the first play of a possession after Ram punter Wyatt Fox had backed A&M to their own 19 yard line. The kick was missed and A&M was up 13-7.
Shelby had a chance to go ahead before the half. Shelby had a 51 yard, 9-play drive for a TD pass to Patch with a few second left in the half. That would have tied the score and the extra point would have given the Rams a 14-13 lead.
However, there was a flag on the play for illegal procedure and the TD was called back. The next pass was incomplete as the half ended.
Shelby opened the 2nd half with a 35 yard six play drive to the A&M 13, but A&M turned them away. On the second play of the possession, Nielson hit Richardson for the 81 yard pass play. Butts scored on the next play and after the kick, A&M was up 20-7 with 8:50 in the 3rd.
Into the 4th, A&M got the ball on the Ram 27 after a shanked punt from inside the Ram 10 yard line. Butts broke free on the first play for a 27 yard TD. The kick was good and A&M was up 27-7 with 9:10 left in the game.
One Coach Mark Ramsey's goals for this year is for the Rams to compete for 48 minutes and they did.
Shelby answered with a 68 yard, seven play drive, capped off by Patch catching a pass in the flat then cutting back and over the goal line for an 8-yard score. He made the kick and it was 27-14 with 7:35 to play.
A&M had the ball at the Shelby 45 with 5:00 to play and a fumbled snap was recovered by Shelby's Bart Kennell. Shelby put together another 52 yard, four play drive for a TD.
On 4th and 7, Duckett hit Tyler Hendryx in stride with a 20 yard pass. Hendryx then finished off the last 30 yards being chased by A&M. the kick missed, but with 4:00 in the game, Shelby was down by just one score, 27-20.
The Rams had a run sack to stop A&M at their own 40 with 2:00 to play. After offsetting penalties, the Rams got the ball after the repunt at the Shelby 19 with 1:33 to play. They had a nine play 60 yard drive that ended after the horn sounded with a Pokalsey interception.
Central A&M 27, Shelbyville 20
Central A&M 7-6-7-7--27
1st (11:09)-A&M Pokalsey 64 yd TD run, Chepan kick, 7-0
1st (8:00)-SH Duckett to McConnell 3 yd TD pass, Patch kick, 7-7
2nd (8:26)-A&M Ballinger 81 yd TD run, kick no good, 13-7
3rd (8:50)-A&M Butts 3 yd TD run, kick good, 20-7
4th (9:10)-A&M Butts 27 yd TD run, kcik good, 27-7
4th (7:35)-SH Duckett to Patch 8 yd TD pass, kick good, 27-14
4th (4:00)-SH Duckett to Hendryx 49 yd TD pass, kick no good, 27-20
Ram stats: OFFENSE 305 yards, 16 1st downs (8 pass, 7 run, 1 penalty), 3 TDs; RUSHING-105 yards; Duckett 20 for 38 yds; Hendryx 7 for 35 yds; Patch 6 for 20 yds; Peterson 3 for 12 yds; PASSING- Duckett 19 of 35, 200 yds, 3 TDs, 1 INT; RECEIVING-Hendryx 1 or 49 yds, TD; Patch 5 for 35 yds, TD; Hudson 2 for 31 yds; McConnell 4 for 30 yds, TD; Fox 4 for 26 yds; Finldey 2 for 17 yds; White 1 for 12 yds; TACKLES-White 9 (6/3), 1 for loss (-6); Hudson 7 (4/3); Houska 5 (2/3); Jackson 5 (3/2); Cloe 5 (3/2), 1 for loss (-1); McConnell 4 (3/1), 1 for loss (-4); Duckett 3 (1/2); Mudgette 3 (1/2); Finley 2 (2/0), 1 for loss (-1); Fox 2 (1/1); Hendryx 1 (0/1); Applegate 1 (1/0); Kennell 1 (1/0); Smithson 1 (1/0); KICKOFFS- Patch 4 for 70 yds; KICK RETURNS-Jackson 1 for 10 yds; Finley 4 for 91 yds; PUNTS- Fox 7 for 192 yds (27.4 yds avg) ; PUNT RETURNS-Hudson 2 for 21 yds; Finley 1 for 13 yds; FUMBLE RECOVERIES- Applegate, Kennell; PENALTIES-6 for 50 yds.
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