By Fred Inglis

HART – Two winless but proud football programs met Friday night in Hart for the Blood, Sweat, and Tears Jug.

And for the second consecutive year Hart came from behind to beat rival Shelby, this time by a 14-7 score.

The visiting Tigers, who came in with a 26-game losing streak, started out with a stunning 65-yard touchdown on their first play from scrimmage.

Shelby was at its own 35-yard line when senior quarterback Kristian Oberlin tossed a 12-yard pass to tight end Simon Payne, who then made a perfect lateral to the speedy Latrell Sobers.

Sobers raced down the right sideline to complete the 65-yard hook-and-ladder touchdown, and the socre was 7-0 before the fans found their seats.

“I had to smile as he (Sobers) went down our sideline,” said Pirates head coach Rick Witteveen. “I thought to myself, ‘Lorenzo (Shelby coach Lorenzo Rodriguez), you got us on that one.’ We just had to regroup and move on.”

Gus Gale on the rush for Hart. Photo/Stephanie Clark

It stayed 7-0 until the final seconds of the second quarter, when Hart’s senior quarterback Kaleb Adams capped a five-play, 38-yard drive with an 11-yard bootleg around right end for a TD. Shelby helped that series with a critical 15-yard personal foul.

The Tigers committed five penalties for 45 yards in the first half.

“We won every important offensive category, but we keep making mental mistakes,” Rodriguez said. “We need to clean up those things if we want to turn things around.”

Hart missed the extra point and Shelby clung to a 7-6 lead at halftime.

The second half turned into a battle of field position.

Hart started its second drive at the Tiger 32-yard line and used five different runners in nine plays to take the lead.

Adams broke through for a two-yard keeper and Pirates took a 12-7 lead with just 37 seconds left in the third quarter.

Senior running back Jesse McGhan slipped off left tackle to score the two-point conversion and Pirates led 14-7 after the third quarter.

It looked like Shelby might get the game-tying touchdown with two minutes left in the contest. The Tigers drove to the Hart 22-yard line, and had a wide open receiver in the end zone, but the pass was incomplete.

Hart’s Tanner Breitwisch sacked Oberlin on the next play, sealing the 14-7 victory for the Pirates.

Jesse McGhan grabs the jersey of Shelby quarterback No. 2 Kristian Oberlin. Photo/Stephanie Clark

“It’s a great feeling, it’s always a big game,” said Hart senior Jesse McGhan. “There’s a lot of energy and more cheap shots. But this isn’t just about beating Shelby. Hopefully we can take this intensity into the rest of the season.”

Hart has now beaten Shelby in back-to-back years for the first time since the 2003-2004 seasons.

“If we don’t grow from this, then it doesn’t matter,” said Witteveen. “We need to understand that one victory doesn’t make our season.”

McGhan led the Pirates with 96 rushing yards on 11 attempts. Shelby was led by Sobers with 121 yards on 11 carries. Oberlin completed four passes for 119 yards.

Oberlin also  led Shelby defensively with 16 tackles, including several touchdown-saving stops.