SHELBY — Homecoming was another chance for Shelby to showcase its dominance in the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference and the Whippets continued to maintain their firm hold on the league with a 37-7 win over Galion on Friday night.
“They have a ton of weapons but I can’t tell you how proud I am of my defense. We held them to seven in the first half. To me that is an impressive statement,” Galion head coach Matt Dick said.
Galion (3-4, 1-3 MOAC) started off the game with a surprise onside kick that backfired. Shelby’s Max Hess picked the ball up and broke free for a 50-yard kickoff return for a touchdown just eight seconds into the game.
Galion had a good chance to tie the game at 7-all after Kyle Foust picked off a Shelby pass in the Tigers’ end zone. Galion drove deep into Shelby territory before turning the ball over on downs.
Shelby (6-1, 4-0 MOAC) struck again in the second quarter when quarterback Marshall Shepherd connected with Andre Hill on a 38-yard touchdown to give the Whippets a 13-0 lead with 8:53 to play before halftime.
Shepherd showed off his arm against Galion, going 17-for-28 with 260 yards passing. Shepherd completed three touchdown passes and had one interception.
Shelby pinned Galion inside their own 10 yard line late in the third quarter. On third down, a snap was mishandled and Shelby was able to tackle Tigers quarterback Cooper Kent for a safety and a 15-0 lead with 3:38 remaining.
Kent finished 4-for-16 for 20 yards and one interception.
“Our sophomore quarterback has to continue to learn. A lot of simple stuff he has to do with consistency,” Dick said. “He’s only a sophomore and we’re going to work on it.”
The Whippets capitalized quickly after the safety. Skyler Winters took a halfback draw and bounced to the outside for a 58-yard touchdown run with 3:19 left in the third period. Winters had 73 yards on just four carries.
Galion put together its only touchdown drive late in the third quarter. Gabe Ivy capped off a 65-yard drive by the Tigers with a 3-yard run with 44 seconds left in the quarter. Ivy finished with 100 yards on 16 carries.
“I really thought Gabe Ivy took a step tonight. He’s a really special sophomore,” Dick said.
Shelby quickly answered with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Shepherd to Issaiah Ramsey early in the fourth quarter. Shepherd connected on a toss to the corner of the end zone to extend Shelby’s lead to 29-7 at the 11:26 mark.
The Whippets continued the onslaught as Shepherd hit Blaine Bowman on a 30-yard pass in the end zone with 8:07 to play in the game that provided Shelby with its final margin of victory. Bowman had seven catches for 119 yards to go along with the touchdown reception.
The Galion offense struggled, picking up 185 yards compared to Shelby’s 427 total yards. Hanif Donaldson led the way with 114 yards on 18 carries for the Tigers.
“We have done some really good things all year, but we can’t be satisfied with being close. The truth is we need to finish games,” explained Dick.
Galion had three costly penalties, too.
“We have to stop holding. It’s okay to be in second and eight, but we can’t be in second and 20,” Dick said.
Landon Campbell caught a pair of passes and had 27 yards for the Tigers.
“We have to finish. It starts with getting a little tougher and starts with being more consistent. Part of that is because they’re young,” Dick said. “We’re going to lay on our seniors these last three games. If they play the type of football they’re capable of they’ll get to play another game. It would be really cool to get to the playoffs.”
Galion has now lost three consecutive games. The Tigers hope to snap the losing skid in Week 8 at Ontario. The Warriors (2-5, 0-3 MOAC) lost to Clear Fork 45-7 on Friday.
Galion will play host to Lima Central Catholic (6-1) in Week 9. The Thunderbirds are currently riding a 6-game winning streak.
In Week 10, the Tigers travel to Pleasant (1-6, 1-2 MOAC) to round out the regular season.
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