Undefeated Norwalk Welcomes Whippets

By CHUCK RIDENOUR
Daily Globe Sports Editor

It's been a longggggggggg time since Norwalk started a season with eight wins - 1974 to be exact.

What happened during week No. 9 of that campaign is a part of Shelby football lore.

The Whippets entered the ninth game of the '74 campaign with a record of 7-1 and trailing the Truckers by a game in the Northern Ohio League standings. SHS was smarting from a 21-14 loss to Tiffin Columbian the previous week.

Before a crowd of 5,804 fans at W.W. Skiles Field, Shelby dismantled their Huron County foes by a 20-6 score. That enabled the Whippets, Truckers and Tornadoes to tie for the conference crown - one of only five times there have been tri-champs in the history of the league, going back to its founding in 1944.

The computerized ratings which determine playoff qualifiers was only in its third year of existence during 1974 and back then only four schools in each class (AAA, AA, A) reached the playoffs those days.

Despite a win over Norwalk and identical 9-1 records, the Whippets were denied a spot in the playoffs, finishing right behind the Truckers in the computer ratings.

NHS bested Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary 20-7 in the state semifinals and claimed the AA state championship by bouncing Louisville St. Thomas Aquinas 27-17 to finish 11-1.

Flashing ahead to 2014, Norwalk is again a perfect 8-0 and will host 2-6 Shelby 7 p.m. Friday at Whitney Field.

The Whippets come in riding a two-game losing, including last weekend's mind-numbing 83-82 overtime loss to Tiffin Columbian that has gained national notoriety because of the offensive numbers that were churned out.

SHS is faced with the task of figuring out a way to slow down the NOL's best offense. The Truckers enter the fray averaging 37.4 points and 402.9 yards a game.

NHS also boasts the talents of running back Breck Turner, who has been carving up opposing defenses to the tune of 1,964 yards and a gaudy per carry average of 12.6. Turner has scored 24 touchdowns this season and has caught the eye of several Division I college programs desiring his services.

Norwalk has rolled up 2,544 yards on the ground. Shelby has managed 1,353 rushing through the first eight weeks.

The Whippets racked up 657 yards in offense against the Tornadoes and freshman quarterback Brennan Armstrong accounted for a good chunk of that - running for 206 and passing for 306.

SHS is averaging 335 yards and 25.9 points a game. Armstrong is challenging for the NOL passing yardage lead with 1,333 and trails Bellevue's Triston Snezek with 1,379. Armstrong has gained 606 on the ground and teammate Dylan Shaffer is nearby with 561. Cody Stine tops the red and gray and the conference with 512 yards receiving and averages 28.4 yards a catch. Tanner Orr sits fourth in the league with 409.

After yielding 661 yards to Tiffin, the Shelby defensive numbers have slipped. They are seventh in both points (31.6) and yardage (393.3) allowed.

The game will featured the NOL's leading tacklers. They are Norwalk's Jared Cook with 101 and the Whippets' Colten Harvey with 93. No. 2 in stops for the red and gray is Shaffer and Hunter Egner with 63 apiece.

THE SERIES

The Truckers smacked Shelby 64-13 last season and have beaten the Whippets in the last three meetings by a margin of 133-26. Overall, SHS controls the all-time series with a 67-23-3 mark.

BIG RED ROLLING

Plymouth continues its march toward the program's first playoff berth Friday night when New London invades Mary Fate Park for a Firelands Conference clash. The Big Red stand at 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the league. The Wildcats enter at 3-5 and 3-2, respectively. NL thumped Monroeville a week ago 36-0.

TYRELL SKIES

Plymouth wide receiver Tyrell Edmiston has etched his name into the record book. The 6-foot-5 athletic target caught four balls for 159 yards, pushing his seasonal total to 1,017. He broke the mark of 912 held by Steve Hall. Edmiston has 39 receptions and is averaging 26 yards a catch. His touchdown total for 2014 stands at 18. The senior has a streak of 10 consecutive games where he has caught a TD pass and has snagged passes in 18 straight games.

BAILEY TAKES AIM

The school's single-season passing mark is in jeopardy as senior quarterback Hunter Bailey needs 64 yards to break the 1,716 total held by Troy Keene - the current varsity boys basketball coach at PHS. To date, Bailey has thrown for 1,653 yards and completed 75 of 138 aerials. Bailey leads the running attack with 677 yards.

BUTCHER TOTALS

Chance Butcher has been a tackling machine for the Big Red and leads the team with 114 stops. He has been in double digits in tackles every game this fall. The senior linebacker has also carried the ball 90 times for 522 yards and had a season-best 179 in last weeks win over Western Reserve.

WINNING SEASON

By beating the Roughriders 47-34, Plymouth assured itself of its first winning season since 1998 when they were 8-2. In each of the three previous seasons the Big Red were 5-5.

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