Sometimes a high school football player gets a chance to redeem himself for a mistake.
Shady Spring quarterback Shane Phillips and linebacker Matt Redden, who had made critical turnovers earlier in the game, came up with huge plays to give the Tigers a 21-20 victory over Sissonville on Senior Night at H.B. Thomas Field Friday.
Phillips, whose interception put his team behind, completed two key passes as marched Shady 58 yards for a late touchdown.
He then rolled right on a two-point conversion play, saw no one open and dived into the end zone.
“I was feeling sick about the interception,” Phillips said. “But I have faith in my guys. We’ve worked hard and we’re a close-knit team. We were determined we weren’t going to lose it.”
Coach Vince Culicerto had planned an option pass by halfback Jerry Farrish, similar to one that resulted in an early Shady touchdown.
But Sissonville sniffed out the play and was yelling, “Option!”
“So Shane called a time-out, which was huge,” Culicerto said. “We put a play together where our flat guy would be open, but they covered it perfectly.”
Phillips wasn’t about to repeat his mistake of forcing a throw.
“I didn’t see anybody open and I had blockers, so I just went and I dove,” he said. “It hurt, but I got over pretty good.”
Redden, who alternated with Joshua Barber at fullback on offense, had fumbled on the last play of the third quarter. Sissonville’s Myles Henson recovered the loose ball, and two plays later Ritchie Casto ran 32 yards to put the Indians up 20-13.
But as fate would have it, Redden and Henson met again with 1:05 remaining and Sissonville 16 yards away from capping a desperation drive.
Henson took a handoff and got to the five, where Redden and a couple of teammates stood him up.
Redden stripped the ball and fell on it, saving the game for the Tigers.
“I was thinking I’ve got to get this one,’ he said. “I didn’t’ know who it was, I was just seeing the ball. I went after it.”
It was a thrilling win for the 2-7 Tigers, who had lost their last five games.
“We weren’t going to lose,” Culicerto said. “The seniors didn’t want to go out with a loss in their last game on this field. They’ve kept a great attitude and they were still scrapping.”
Farrish led the attack, carrying the ball 28 times for 132 yards and scoring the Tigers’ final touchdown on a four-yard run.
He also completed a 56-yard TD pass to Phillips at the 10:19 mark of the first quarter.
Phillips completed 2-of-10 passes for 39 yards. Sophomore flanker Eric Lucas had both catches.
Sissonville, now 0-8, got 81 yards on the ground from Casto, 46 from Henson and 41 through the air on 2-of-8 passing by quarterback Chris Boggess.
“Sissonville is like us. They’re young and they play in a tough conference like we do,” Culicerto said. “They’re still scrappy to come down here and play us like they did.”
The Tigers play at Liberty next Friday.