By DOUG DONNELLY
OTTAWA LAKE – Devon Shaw is playing football for two this year. Friday night, Shaw did the work of two players and more as he rushed for 211 yards to lift the Whiteford Bobcats to a 28-6 win over No. 8 ranked Sand Creek.
Shaw is a junior for the Bobcats. His brother, D’Ondre, lost his senior season when doctors discovered a heart murmur over the summer. Shaw moved into a starting role for the Bobcat offense and was sensational Friday night, rushing 24 times for 211 yards and two touchdowns. On his first touchdown, he bulldozed his way into the end zone from 17 yards out, breaking multiple tackles and leaving a trail of Aggies behind him.
“The line,” Shaw said as the reason for his success Friday. “They worked hard all week in practice. Anybody could have run through those holes. … I was a lot more focused. I was getting it from my brother about going the extra mile and keep chopping my feet.”
Whiteford head coach Jason Mensing said the younger Shaw was frustrated a little bit earlier this season but came up big against the 4-2 Aggies.
“There’s no question he’s playing for two,” Mensing said. “It’s been a somewhat of a frustrating year for himself, not necessarily playing at the level he wants. I think he puts too much pressure on himself sometimes. It was really good to see him have that production. We know he’s a real talented kid. He’s a great kid.”
The Bobcats (4-2) never trailed. They forced the Aggies to punt on their first possession and went down the field in six plays, capped off by a 5-yard run from Nick Marchant. The Aggies tied the game in the second quarter on a 75-yard run by Jacob Alston, but the Bobcat defense stiffened the rest of the way.
Sand Creek came into the game averaging nearly 400 yards rushing a game but was held to 159 yards, or just 84 yards other than the long TD run. Whiteford held Sand Creek to just six first downs, forced five punts and shut down the Aggies on seven of their nine third-down conversion attempts and all three of their fourth down conversion attempts. With each stop, the Bobcat defense gained confidence.
“We played really good defense right out of the gate,” Mensing said. “They have an offense that has been highly explosive. They’ve been making big play after big play. When we were able to make that sticky for them, that’s not something they are used to, it was a tough deal. We had some good defensive stands.”
Whiteford controlled the clock for much of the game. It took the ball to start the second half, leading 20-6 and held the ball almost seven minutes. They didn’t score, but reached the Aggie four-yard line, chewing up clock and, most importantly for them, keeping the Aggie playmakers off the field. Will Alexander came into the game with nearly 900 yards rushing and was held to 27 yards.
Evan Dyer was in on eight tackles, including three tackles for loss. Marchant had seven stops and Levi Hillard had two tackles for loss.
Other than Shaw’s 211 yards, Cole Giesige rushed for 78 yards, Marchant 60 and quarterback Shea Ruddy 21.
“We mixed it up,” Mensing said. “It wasn’t easy or pretty, but our kids did a good job of executing a lot of different looks.”
The victory kept Whiteford’s Tri-County Conference win streak alive at 24 games and kept them on pace with Clinton, who is 4-0 in the TCC. The Bobcats travel to Clinton (6-0) next week.