Shelby Valley eliminates Yellow Jackets with late touchdown

Published 4:06 pm Monday, November 14, 2022


Contributing writer

The 2022 football season came to an end for the Middlesboro Yellow Jackets on Friday in the second round of the playoffs.

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Senior running back Jayden Newsome rushed for 237 yards on 31 carries and scored two touchdowns as Shelby Valley defeated the Jackets 28-21 in the Class 2A playoffs.

Newsome went in from the 1-yard line with 3:31 left in the game as the WIldcats held on for the victory.

With the win, Shelby Valley advances to play at Beechwood (11-1) on Friday.

Middlesboro, the defending region champions, closed the season with a 7-4 record.

Coach Larry French stands at 356-172 in his 45 years of coaching, which is third on the all-time coaching list in Kentucky history. French has posted a 34-10 record in his four years at MHS.

Each team scored a touchdown in the first quarter.

After the Yellow Jackets held Shelby Valley on downs, junior quarterback Cayden Grigsby scored on a 36-yard run, following Sopheaktra Sin’s extra point. Middlesboro led 14-7 with 2:26 remaining in the first half.

Shelby Valley evened the score at 14-all with a 2-yard TD run by Russ Osborne with 9:40 left in the third quarter.

The Wildcats took a 20-14 advantage with nine minutes remaining in the game as Newsome scored on a 9-yard run.

Middlesboro wasted no time to find the end zone as Grigsby connected with Kameron Wilson for a 40-yard TD pass with 8:48 to play.

Shelby Valley gained 373 yards on the ground and finished with 440 yards of offense on the night.

Osborne added 82 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Trey Compton added a pair of extra points for the Cats.

Caleb Lovins led Shelby Valley with five tackles. Osborne, Jordan Ratliff and Jordan Tackett had four tackles apiece.

No statistics were available late Sunday night.

The Yellow Jackets capped a three-year run with a 26-6 record since 2020.

Middlesboro will lose eight seniors from this year’s squad — William Appleby, Terrance Brooks, Richie Logan, Joey Manning, Ashton Osborne, Sopheaktra Sin, Vincent Smith and Tyler Sturgill.

The Jackets will be heavy-loaded with seniors in 2023