Shelby Valley and Pike Central were like mirror images Saturday evening in the 35th Annual Community Trust Bank/WYMT Pike County Bowl.
The Wildcats made enough adjustments to pull out a 12-7 win over the Hawks.
“This win just boosts everybody’s confidence,” Shelby Valley senior quarterback/safety Dalton Meade said. “It gives these younger guys a taste of this atmosphere and it gives us momentum going into Ridgeview next week.”
Pike Central jumped out to a 7-0 lead when quarterback Tyler Hunt found Keegan Bentley for an eight-yard TD pass with 12 seconds left in the first quarter to give the Hawks a 7-0 lead.
Shelby Valley answered on its next possession. Meade is known for running the ball, but went to the air to find Ethan Bentley for a 39-yard TD to cut the lead to 7-6 with 10:45 left in the second quarter.
“We were looking to big play them from the start,” Meade said. “That just happened to be our big play.”
Then Shelby Valley got the lead late in the first half. Jordan Little rushed a TD with 1:02 left to give the Wildcats a 12-7 lead.
The second half was a defensive chess game.
Bentley came up with an interception for the Hawks late in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks marched down the field and were threatening in the final minute of play, but Meade sealed the Wildcats’ win with an interception.
“They were marching down field on us and they’re a heck of a team, but I was just looking to make a play,” Meade said. “Everybody done their job and we got pressure up front, that’s how I ended up with that interception.”
Meade finished the game with 79 yards rushing on 10 carries. He also was one for six passing for 39 yards and a TD.
Little added 66 yards and a TD on 15 carries, while freshman Jayden Newsome added 72 yards rushing on 15 carries.
Shelby Valley finished the game with 277 total yards of offense; 238 of them were rushing.
Shelby Valley (2-0) is scheduled to visit Ridgeview (Va.) next week at 7:00 p.m. Ridgeview features junior running back Trenton Adkins. Adkins is getting looks from Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee and Penn State.
Pike Central (1-1) is on its bye week next week.