Looking on the bright side
The scoreboard wasn’t a pleasant site for R-S Central football (1-2, 0-1 SMAC) Friday night after a 45-14 loss to conference foe Shelby (2-2, 1-0 SMAC).
But if you look beyond the scoreboard and analyze the box score, the Hilltoppers put on a decent performance. However, three turnovers doomed the Hilltoppers.
“I was disappointed because I feel we played better than the game turned out,” R-S Central head coach Mike Cheek said. “We just turned the ball over too many times. Against a team like Shelby you don’t need to help them out, you need to hold onto the ball.”
If you look beyond the final score and turnovers, one would think the game was a nail-biter.
R-S Central outdid Shelby with more first downs (16-13), more rushing yards (298-171) and fewer penalties (two for 20 yards - eight for 58 yards).
“We’ve been that way all year long,” Cheek said about the minimal penalty yards. “We don’t make many mistakes, but when we do it’s more than one and it’s usually turnovers.”
Shelby owned the advantage in passing yards (193-57) and a slight edge in total offense (354-335).
However, Shelby scored 21 points in just over six minutes to start the contest and the Hilltoppers failed to find a way back into the game.
“I knew we could run the option on them and we hoped that would keep us around for a while,” Cheek said. “But we turned the ball over so many times early that they were able to jump ahead 21-0. That changes the whole game plan.”
The early hole forced Central to the air, but quarterback Jay’len Hollis never seemed to have the time to make a good throw as he went 3-for-10 passing for 27 yards.
“Shelby’s front line was just quicker than our offensive line,” Cheek said. “Every time we went to drop back or roll out we had pressure in our face.”
R-S Central hits the road this week as they face Draughn (0-4, 0-1 SMAC). The next week they host another Cleveland County power in the form of the Crest Chargers (2-1, 1-0 SMAC), another 2013 addition to the SMAC.
“We talk every day about playing big teams like Shelby, Burns and Crest and how we need to step it up to play with them,” Cheek said. “We just have to get better at the stuff we do.”