Norwalk can't sustain hot start at Shelby

Mark Hazelwood • Updated Sep 23, 2017 at 2:48 AM

SHELBY — The Norwalk football team didn’t make the trip to face a juggernaut and take the first punch.

Unfortunately for the Truckers, they weren’t able to match host Shelby blow-for-blow in Friday’s 55-14 loss to the state-ranked Whippets.

Trevon Raymore slashed through the middle untouched for an 80-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage to give Norwalk (2-3) a 7-0 lead just 13 seconds into the game.

The Truckers then forced a turnover on downs by the Whippets — ranked No. 8 in the latest Division IV Associated Press poll — at the Norwalk 21-yard line. Norwalk was then driving at the Shelby 47 — and disaster struck.

Uriah Schwemley intercepted an Andrew Ehrenburg pass on some apparent miscommunication and returned it all the way to the Norwalk 4. Two plays later, Devon Brooks scored the first of three touchdowns — and the Whippets (5-0) scored the first of six straight TDs in the blowout win.

“There’s no question they are a very good team,” Norwalk coach Chris MacFarland said of Shelby. “It was three series in a row of exactly what we’ve had go wrong this year — turnovers and penalties.

“When we have those against this type of team, we needed to be perfect on offense,” he added. “We were for one play, and we came back and followed that up with some nice plays, but we didn’t get the drive, then got the turnover, and those things hurt against this quality of a team.”

Still, Norwalk trailed 14-7 with just under five minutes left in the first half. However, following a punt, Shelby quarterback Brennan Armstrong then showed those in attendance why he’s a Big Ten recruit (Minnesota).

On a designed-keeper, Armstrong stiff-armed a tackler, then shed three more on the way to a 68-yard TD run with 3:24 left in the first half for a 21-7 lead.

Three plays later, Norwalk fumbled it away at its own 37. The very next play, Brooks turned in his own highlight reel run to cover the distance on a 37-yard TD run, and in a span of four plays — the lead had swelled to 28-7 with 2:38 left in the half.

Shelby added two more TDs in the third quarter, as Armstrong threw a pair of scoring passes to Schwemley (20 yards) and Brady Hill (34 yards) to push the lead out to 41-7.

The Truckers then got on the board one last time with a 7-play, 56-yard scoring drive. Raymore’s 45-yard run on the third play of the drive was the first time the Truckers had a first down since the play before the first quarter INT.

Ehrenburg found Josh Welfle for a 3-yard TD pass on fourth-and-goal to cap the drive with 9:29 left, and Garrison Smith’s second PAT made it a 41-14 deficit. The Whippets then added two TDs in the final eight minutes to cap the scoring.

“We couldn’t match them blow for blow and stumbled there for a bit,” MacFarland said. “We came out and competed early in the second half and stopped them a couple of times, so the kids kept playing and we’re pleased with that.”

Raymore ran 15 times for 192 yards and the early TD to pace the Truckers. He has ran for 395 yards and 4 TDs in the last two games. Ehrenberg was 7-of-14 passing for 46 yards, with Kaden Livingston catching five passes for 37 yards.

Armstrong was 15-of-19 passing for 218 yards and 3 TDs, and also ran 17 times for 129 yards and a TD. Brooks carried 16 times for 135 yards, while Hill caught three passes for 90 yards.

Norwalk officially begins Lake division play next week at Bellevue.

“Our kids are finally coming along, and we are improving and doing what we want to progress with,” MacFarland said. “We just have to take care of our team, and now it’s finally league play. It’s time for that new goal of league time after five weeks. That’s going to change the mentality for these kids. The first five is over, now it’s time for the SBC games that count. I think the kids will really respond to that.”

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