Red Raiders lose heartbreaker in Shelbyville

Elijah Clemmons celebrates the Coffee County defense forcing a safety late against Shelbyville. Clemmon's defensive teammates stalled Shelbyville for most of the second half. 

The Red Raiders didn’t get the chance to bounce back from last week’s Coffee Pot loss before having another tough game in the losing column. Despite a herculean effort from the Coffee County defense the Red Raiders couldn’t come away from Shelbyville with a win falling 28-26.

The game started in an offensive quagmire as neither team could seem to get any sustained drive going. The biggest highlight of the quarter came from Coffee County defensive back Jaiden Foster who forced the first of many turnovers that happened during the game. Foster came down on the winning side of a fifty-fifty ball near midfield to give the Red Raiders the chance to try to score. The offense didn’t really capitalize on this turnover a theme that persisted throughout the night.

Much like last week’s Coffee Pot both teams seemed to find their offensive rhythm somewhat in the second quarter. Connor Shemwell hit Jahlin Osbourne on a textbook back shoulder throw give Coffee County a score late during the second quarter. Shelbyville’s Kade Cunningham responded in kind by driving the Golden Eagles down the field to take a 22-17 lead going into halftime. Both offenses in the second half seemed to have found the balance between running and passing to keep the defense on their toes, then halftime happened and that notion went right out the window.

The second half of the game had at least six turnovers as neither Coffee County nor Shelbyville could seem to get out of their own way. In one comical series the Red Raider defense forced a fumble near midfield during the fourth quarter. The Coffee County offense took the field and fumbled on a running play giving the Golden Eagles the ball at essentially the same place they had it not two plays earlier. Then the Coffee County defense forced another turnover, courtesy of a Jackson Shemwell interception, only for Coffee County to have to punt on fourth down.

The only thing stranger than that was when it happened again except this time it was near Shelbyville’s goal line. The Red Raider defense forced yet another turnover, Jake Barlow hit the ball carrier and Cole Pippenger recovered the fumble, and the Red Raiders tried to run into the end zone only for the ball carrier to lose the football. At this point the Red Raider defense had figured out the Golden Eagle offense and smothered the ball carrier in his own end zone forcing a safety.

Despite the ping pong approach to possession that both teams were using in the second half the game came down to a final drive from the Coffee County offense. The team was down by two and needed to get into field goal range to give Elijah McCoy a chance to win the game for the Red Raiders. The offense ran the two minute drill basically textbook, Connor Shemwell looked for receivers on the sidelines so that they could step out of bounds when they catch the ball to stop the clock. Shemwell rocketed passes to Travis Martin, Kelby Walker, and even Konor Heaton to get his team into field goal range. There was only time for one more pass before the field goal attempt has to be made and Shemwell saw a favorable matchup up the right sideline near the end zone. He ripped the pass to Ian Weldon who has to battle against the corner that eventually pushed him out of bounds. Suddenly, a flash of yellow appeared from the official near the spot of the pass. It was either offensive interference or defensive interference and to the disappointment of Red Raider fans it was called offensive. The Red Raiders were left with one second on the clock as Shemwell sent a desperate heave to Kelby Walker only for the pass to bounce off the senior’s hands as the clock strikes zero.

It hasn’t been a great two weeks for the Red Raiders but hopefully the team can shake off this heartbreaker to down Page next week.