RALEIGH, NC - The Shelby Golden Lions jumped out to a 14-0 lead after one quarter and did not look back on their way to doubling up North Davidson 42-21 and winning the school’s tenth NCHSAA State Championship in football.
Sophomore linebacker Jack Hollifield got the festivities underway, intercepting a pass and returning it 93 yards for a touchdown with 6:23 to go in the first quarter, putting Shelby up 7-0. Hollifield was named the Golden Lions Most Outstanding Defensive Player with nine tackles, a tackle for loss, a pass break-up and the 93 yard interception return for score.
The Golden Lion defense then forced a three-and-out on the ensuing Knights possession, and after a nice punt return Shelby had exceptional field position to start their drive at the Knights 38. Diavonni Daley capped off the 5-play, 38-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown catch from Isaiah Bess to put the Lions in front 14-0.
Shelby kept the foot on the gas pedal to start the second quarter, as Daley hauled in a 22-yard pass from Bess to cap a nine-play, 54-yard drive and give the Lions a 21-0 advantage with 10:45 to play in the first half. Bess finished the contest with 192 yards and three touchdown passes as he completed 17 of his 26 pass attempts and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Daley hauled in six passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns as he was selected as Shelby’s Most Outstanding Offensive Player in the game.
North Davidson responded on their next possession, sprinting 72 yards in just 8 plays and two minutes. The Knights got on the board with Devon Welch’s three-yard touchdown plunge to trim the Shelby lead to 21-7 which is how the teams entered the locker room at the half.
The Lions started to pull away for good with an 18-yard touchdown pass by Bess to Fabian Pettis with 2:15 to go in the third. That touchdown finished off a 10-play 63-yard drive that chewed up 4:07 of clock. The Knights answered right back with an 11-play drive of their own that went 50 yards and spanned 4:45 to cut the lead to 28-14 when Jackson Perrell scored on a three-yard touchdown run.
The two teams traded scores for the rest of the contest with Donye Fuller plunging in from a yard out for the Golden Lions before Gage Williams recovered a Shelby fumble, rumbling 15 yards for a score to trim the Shelby lead back to 14 at 35-21 and 4:48 to go. Jaylon Scott put the game away for the Golden Lions when he scored from one yard out to polish off a 9-play, 49-yard drive at the 1:15 mark of the final quarter.
The North Davidson defense was led by Blake Stephens who collected 10 tackles on the game including 3.5 sacks and 4 tackles for loss. He is also credited with a pass break-up and quarterback hurry in the game as he was named North Davidson’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player. The Knight was led by Themus Fulks who was named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player for the Knights with eight receptions for 146 yards on the afternoon.
The NCHSAA is committed to promoting good sportsmanship and with the assistance of North Carolina Farm Bureau are pleased to present Sportsmanship Awards to one member of each Championship team that have exhibited good sportsmanship throughout the 2018 season. North Davidson’s winner was defensive back, Evan Vanmeter. Shelby’s selection was senior defensive lineman and linebacker, Tre Jolly.