MARION, OH – Minnesota bound Shelby QB Brennan Armstrong’s strong second half led his Whippets not only to 12-0 for the first time in school history, but also into the Regional Finals next weekend as they defeated St. Marys 47-7.
Shelby possessed the football five times in the second half and saw four of those drives end the exact same way, with Armstrong in the endzone for a score. Touchdown runs of 32, 2, 3, and finally 36 yards put the finishing touches on a final two quarters in which the Whippets also forced a trio of Roughrider turnovers in accomplishing their twelfth running clock in as many games played.
Armstrong and tailback Devon “Shorty” Brooks led an offense that rolled up 404 yards on the ground while holding the Western Buckeye League Champions and leading ground gainers on the season to just 160 yards on 48 rushes of the football.
In the first half of the contest the visiting Roughriders were forced to punt away the football on four occasions and saw another end in a missed field goal attempt.
One positive for St. Marys came with 4:50 remaining in the second quarter but down 20-0 when Bo Kuenning picked off an Armstrong toss at the Shelby 38 yard line and returned it to his opponents 11. Following a trio of rushes from Ty Schlosser that resulted in ten yards and a first down the Roughriders turned to their own QB Colin Clements who rushed in from a yard out to cut the Shelby lead to 20-7 with 3:27 remaining in the half.
After a pair of first down pick ups from the Whippets offense, the Roughriders picked off another errant Armstrong pass as this time around Braeden Dunlap nabbed the football at his teams 10. Unfortunately for St. Marys fans however the Roughriders were unable to move the football past the midfield stripe and saw the half come to an end with no further scoring on their teams part.
Despite being the first team to hold the Whippets from beginning the second half with a running clock this season, the Roughriders finish their season with a loss and at 10-2 overall.
Offensively the St. Marys offense was led by junior and 1st team WBL pick Sean Perry who carried 16 times for 80 yards, but was relatively held in check outside of a 21 yard scamper for a first down against a strong Whippets defense.
For Shelby it was Devon Brooks who led the rushing attack with 210 yards on 15 carries and a score while Armstrong who was held to just 46 yards passing and a score on 3/11 rushed for 4 touchdowns and 173 yards on 21 rushes, mostly out of the shotgun on zone read option plays.
With the win the Whippets will move on to the Regional Finals to take on a Bellevue squad they defeated 46-0 earlier this season next weekend at a site to be determined.
Though their season might have come to an end on Friday night the Roughriders finished the season with 430 points scored which is good for 5th best in school history in a single season and with a second straight Western Buckeye League Championship in their possession which includes their first unbeaten league mark since 1993.