BELTON — Ziere Banner’s pass lofted far too high into the air.
Kyle Battle saw it and made a play on it. The Belton senior defensive back reached high, pulled in the interception and streaked down the sideline for a 93-yard touchdown. The pick-six gave the Tigers a 42-0 lead over Shoemaker with six seconds left in the first half.
It was the second interception of a long night for Banner and the Grey Wolves as they fell 49-14 Friday to Belton at Tiger Stadium.
“We came out and got a fumble (recovery), but then we threw a pick and they got the score and the onside,” said Shoemaker coach Channon Hall. “We knew they were going to do it and we just didn’t execute … they just put us in a hole from there.”
Friday, Belton got going early and did almost everything with ease.
The Tigers (6-3, 3-3 8-5A) scored first after an 11-play, 79-yard drive that was capped off with a 4-yard run by Shane Stafford, who later put Belton up 21-0 with a 32-yard touchdown off a swing pass from Shelburne.
“We have a list of goals for our offense and scoring on the first drive is one of them,” said Belton tight end Durham Smythe, who had six receptions for 113 yards. “We let that set the tone for the rest of the game — starting out strong.”
Following another successful onside kick by Belton — the Tigers have converted one five weeks in a row — Brandon Rhoads sandwiched in a 10-yard touchdown run between Stafford’s scores and Shelburne ran one in himself from 9 yards out with 7:48 left in the second quarter.
“There is a difference when you surprise onside and when you have to onside,” said Belton coach Rodney Southern. “That ball is hard to defend because you are playing return and you don’t know where it is going and all of a sudden it is on you and … and you have to defend it.”
Shelburne, who finished 24-of-31 passing for 318 yards, threw his second touchdown pass of the night five minutes later, hooking up with Derick Bates (5 receptions, 72 yards) for an 18-yard touchdown pass.
“I thought we had a good plan going in,” Southern said. “A lot of people have gotten some positive yards throwing the ball on them and we have had to live and die with that and obviously, after a couple of drives, we figured out we could throw it.”
Shoemaker drove down the field with time winding down in the half on the back of Johnny Jefferson.
The senior Baylor commit carried five times for 65 yards, but on third and fourth downs, the Grey Wolves elected to try to pass the ball.
The result was an incompletion, a false start and the 93-yard interception return by Battle.
Shoemaker was more effective in the second half. Jefferson broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 42-7 and then Qwoy Blunt hauled in an 8-yard touchdown pass from Banner to cap off an 11-play, 64-yard drive.
“We played better assignment football in the second half,” Hall said. “They called the dogs off a little bit, but we still did a couple of things well and were able to execute.”
Belton’s final score came in between the Shoemaker touchdowns and capped off the big night for Shelburne, who hit a wide open Bates in the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown strike.
Even with the lopsided win, Belton still must defeat Waco Midway next Friday to stay alive in the District 8-5A playoff race.
“This week was tough on the coaches and everybody (following the loss to Killeen),” Southern said. “We are in a position where we have one more and we have to win it. So, I think these kids will respond.”
Contact Nick Talbot at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7569