Mounties Eye Playoffs After Critical Region Win

by John Goolsby

The Shades Valley football team (2-5, 2-2) won a critical 6A, Region 5 game over Homewood (5-2, 3-2) on Senior Night this past Friday.

Mountie Head coach Rueben Nelson
Photo credit:

The game remained a scoreless affair until Mountie senior running back Jordan Pearson broke the deadlock with a 65-yard run up the middle with 1:04 remaining in the third period.

Pearson scores on a 65 yard run. Video credit: Hudl/PrepNet

With 10:47 remaining in the game, the Patriots scored a safety after the Mounties fumbled in their endzone. Homewood then got the ball back and put together a drive that ended with a go-ahead touchdown with 6:15 remaining. The Patriot’s two-point attempt failed, and Valley found themselves trailing the visitors 8-7.

The Mounties began their game-winning drive from their own 33 with a little more than six minutes on the clock. After a steady dose of Pearson on the ground, quarterback J’Cauis Moore appeared to score on a 42-yard scamper with 2:51 remaining. However, an extremely questionable holding call negated the score.

J’Caius Moore’s 42-yard run is called back.
Video credit: Hudl/PrepNet

The Mounties moved the ball methodically down the field to the Patriot’s two yard line. With ten seconds on the clock, senior kicker Wuilman Guerrero drilled a 19-yard kick to put the Mounties up for good 10-8.

The go-ahead score and eventual game winner.
Video credit: Shane Paschal

“The coaches didn’t get rattled. The kids didn’t get rattled. They just went down the field and scored. I can’t take credit for it. They played hard and fought hard,” Mountie head coach Rueben Nelson said.

“I’m proud of all of them, and I thank God for the opportunity to get a win. The kids responded well because the coaches did a great job of getting them prepared.”

Nelson also had high praise for his kicker. “Wuilman is a great kid,” he said. “The kid is a hard worker, and I can’t say enough good things about him.” Nelson believes that Guerrero is the best kicker in the area and deserves a chance at the next level. “He is a scholarship kicker.”

When asked about his game-winning kick, Guerrero said, “I was ready because it is something that I work on every day in practice. I was nervous because of all the pressure from the team and all the people in the stands,” he said. “I think that was the big opportunity that every kicker waits on,” he added.

You can read more about Wuilman Guerrero here:

“Offensively, our offensive line gave us a chance to control the game. I thought we did a great job running the football,” said offensive coordinator Kyle Dickerson.

Jordan Pearson, who Nelson calls “the most underrated back in the state,” was a workhorse for the Mounties. He rushed for 218 yards on 28 carries. Dickerson called Pearson’s performance “his breakout game.” Pearson continues to play exceptionally well down the stretch after a few injuries. He has shown toughness and has rushed for 346 yards and two touchdowns in the last two games.

Pearson breaks free for a big gain.
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In addition to Pearson, Sophomore quarterback J’Cauis Moore played a sound game for the Mounties. “He had a great night managing the ball game and doing things right,” Nelson said. Wide receiver Israel Howrd continues to get better each week and should be a weapon for the Mounties in the future.

J’Cauis Moore
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“Homewood didn’t give us many opportunities,” Dickerson said. “We did our part in a crucial part of the game to win. I think we’ll definitely build off of that drive heading on the road to Chelsea.”

One of the busiest players on the field Friday night was Christian Thomas. Thomas started on both sides of the ball for the Mounties. The junior wide receiver was pressed into action in the defensive backfield due to an injury to Jacob Mahand.

Christian Thomas
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Stepping in as a defensive back for the Mounties isn’t easy. “We ask a lot of our secondary because we play quite a bit of man to man,” Nelson said. Thomas was up to the task. “He played a great game, and he came up with a big interception right before the half,” Nelson said.

Thomas with a spectacular interception.
Video credit: Hudl/MaxPreps

Defensively the Mounties continue to improve each week. “Our guys are simply beginning to play together…our main job is to stay focused, play one game at a time and play fundamental football,” said Mountie defensive coordinator Justin Hannah.

Hannah said that senior Tyler Addie was a defensive standout in the game. “He played a phenomenal game for us on the back end. He was able to make three great deflections that forced Homewood to run the ball,” he said.

Tyler Addie

“Our defense is tough, blue collar workers,” Nelson said. “They have come ready to play the last couple of games.”

The Mountie win sets up a critical region clash against the Chelsea Hornets on the road this Friday night.

Along with the opportunity to clinch a playoff spot, the game will be Shades Valley’s 1,000th football game and, amazingly, be played on the 100th anniversary of the Mounties’ first win.

The game will be televised this Friday, October 15, on the NFHS Network at 7 PM.

Photo credit: Shane Paschal

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