SHELBY — Sophomore quarterback Brennan Armstrong ran for five touchdowns and threw a 63-yard touchdown pass to Brady Hill — all in the first half Friday night as Shelby out-classed Norwalk, 64-21, to start the Northern Ohio League season with a record of 1-0.
After opening the 2015 season with a win over rival Mansfield Madison, Shelby had struggled offensively during a two-game losing streak against Lexington and Clear Fork. But the offense exploded against the Truckers on a night when Shelby High School celebrated the 50-year reunion of the 1965 undefeated Whippet team, the first team in school history to go 10-0.
With many former players from that team in attendance, Armstrong led a scoring barrage. Shelby took the opening kickoff and drove down to the Norwalk 10-yard line where Armstrong ran 10 yards for his first touchdown with less than a minute gone in the game.
Brandon Schneider intercepted Norwalk quarterback Trenton Morrow’s first pass and returned it 35 yards for another Shelby score. It was 12-0 only 55 seconds into the game.
Armstrong scored his second touchdown with 3:12 to play in the first quarter on an 18-yard run and it was 18-0.
Next possession, Armstrong took off on a 57-yard scoring run and, after Devon Tuttle ran for a 2-point conversion, Shelby led, 26-0, after one quarter of play.
The Whippets, now 2-2 on the year and 1-0 in the NOL, cranked it up even more in the second quarter. Brady Hill caught an Armstrong pass in stride and took it 63 yards for another Shelby score to make the score 32-0 with 10:51 showing on the second quarter clock.
Norwalk (1-3, 0-1) finally moved the ball and scored when Morrow threw 64 yards to Blake Obringer. A point-after kick by Griffin Rinner brought Norwalk to within 32-7.
Shelby’s Devon Brooks scored on an 11-yard touchdown run and Armstrong converted the 2-point conversion run and the Whippets were on top 40-7 with 8:14 to play in the second quarter.
Obringer caught another scoring pass from Morrow, this time from 31 yards out and cut the Shelby lead to 40-14.
Armstrong and Shelby weren’t finished. The 6-foot-2 left-hander raced 50 yards for a touchdown and then ran another successful 2-point conversion and scored again on a 3-yard run with 29 seconds before the half. He then threw a 2-point conversion pass to Hill and Shelby was more than half-way to 100, leading 56-14 at intermission.
Armstrong had 179 yards rushing on 11 carries and completed 7 of 9 passes for 234 yards in the first half . Devon Brooks also gained over 100 yards rushing in the first half, gaining 101 on 7 carries. Brooks also set up Shelby’s first touchdown of the game by returning the opening kickoff 48 yards. Shelby had 534 yards of total offense in the first half while limiting Norwalk to 101 yards rushing and 134 yards passing for 235 total yards in the first half.
Thegame went to a running clock in the second half. Norwalk took the opening second-half kickoff and drove 62 yards in 11 plays, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Morrow. That closed the gap to 56-21.
Shelby coach Erik Will cleared his bench the entire second half, resting his starters after halftime. Backup quarterback Uriah Gieseler scored Shelby’s only touchdown in the second half on a 12-yard run with 4:05 to play in the game and Ty Hoffman ran in the 2-point attempt to make the final score, 64-21..
“The only stat that matters is we’re 1-0 in the league,” Will said. “Three teams in our league will be 1-0 after tonight and we’re one of them. I thought our offensive and defensive lines were fantastic tonight. If we can continue to grow on our offensive and defensive lines, we feel we can compete for a championship.”
The Whippet defense forced four Norwalk turnovers. Besides Schneider’s pick-six, Dylan Shaffer recovered a fumble and Riley Place and Trevor Young had interceptions.
The Shelby win stops a 4-game losing streak dating back to 2010 against Norwalk, the reigning NOL champions.
Shelby travels to Sandusky next week while Norwalk will be at Ontario.