For most of a rainy Friday night at Stadium Bowl, Wilson High School fans had to hold their breath. The Rams used their speedy playmakers to grab and hold a slim lead over Shelton.
But Wilson also developed a bad habit of giving the Highclimbers breaks. Twice Shelton scored after Rams’ turnovers; twice in the decisive final moments, Wilson helped the Highclimbers keep drives alive with penalties on pass defense.
In the end, though, the Climbers handed the game back to Wilson, missing an extra point try and a relatively short field-goal attempt in the final minute to fall 24-23 in 3A Narrows League football.
Down a touchdown late in the fourth quarter, Shelton (2-3, 1-2 3A Narrows) caught a huge break when Taylor Toney blocked a Wilson punt at the Rams’ 45-yard line.
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An eight-play drive aided by a pass interference call against Wilson (2-1, 2-3) culminated with a quarterback sneak for a touchdown by Tyler Giraldes to bring the Climbers within a point. But the extra-point attempt was no good with just over a minute to play.
No problem it seemed when Shelton recovered an onside kick at midfield and, aided by a penalty that took away what would have been a game-sealing interception by Wilson’s Alex Motonaga, moved to the Rams’ 12-yard line with nine seconds left.
Cody Braggs’ attempt at a 30-yard field goal bounced off the right upright.
Wilson started the scoring with a 36-yard field goal by Alek Greenleaf with 2:23 left in the first quarter, but that lead didn’t last long. Shelton’s Colton Paller ran the ensuing kickoff back 99 yards for a touchdown.
Wilson went up 10-7 on a drive that featured Elijah Jones rushing for 50 yards, including the final five for a touchdown with 11:03 left in the half.
Shelton took advantage of a Wilson fumble to score on the next play, a six-yard run by Willy Ruiz, to go back ahead, 14-10. The Climbers made it 17-10 on a 38-yard field goal by Bragg after another Rams turnover.
Wilson tied it with 3:50 left in the half when Ezra Adams made his first carry of the night count with a 33-yard touchdown sprint.
Jones gave the Rams a lead they would not relinquish with a one-yard blast up the middle with 57 seconds remaining before intermission.
Shelton 7 10 0 6 - 23
Wilson 3 21 0 0 - 24 - 1
W- Alek Greenleaf 36 FG.
S – Colton Paller 99 kickoff return (Cody Bragg kick)
W – Elijah Jones 5 run (Greenleaf kick)
S – Willy Ruiz 6 run (Bragg kick)
S – Bragg 38 FG.
W – Ezra Adams 33 run (Greenleaf kick)
W – Jones 1 run (Greenleaf kick)
S – Tyler Giraldes 1 run (kick failed)