End Of The Line

by John Goolsby

The Shades Valley Mounties saw their season come to an end last Thursday night. The Mounties lost to Vestavia Hills 17-0 in a hard-fought game at Frank Nix Stadium.

Valley saw their playoff hopes dashed when Chelsea lost to Calera. A Hornet victory would have sent Shades Valley to the playoffs. With the Chelsea loss, the Homewood Patriots advance to the playoffs instead.

The Mounties had an opportunity to get on the board first against Vestavia. Shades Valley drove to the Rebels eleven-yard line, but Vestavia blocked Wuilman Guerrero’s field goal attempt with 8:50 remaining in the first half.

Vestavia mounted a drive on their next possession and kicked a field goal with 5:20 remaining in the second quarter. The Rebels entered halftime with a 3-0 lead over the Mounties.

Shades Valley had a chance to get on the board early in the half. The Mounties moved the ball to the Vestavia nine-yard line but missed a short field goal with 6:50 in the third period.

On Vestavia’s next possession, the Rebels broke a 62-yard run down to the Mounties two-yard line. Vestavia then scored on the next play to take a 10-0 lead with 4:40 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Shades Valley was unable to move the ball on their next possession. Vestavia blocked the Mountie punt and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown to take a 17-0 lead with 3:36 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

The Mounties found themselves down 17-0 in the span of 3:14 seconds after having the opportunity to tie the game.

Shades Valley was able to get to the Rebel’s red zone two more times, but the drives ended in an interception in the end zone and a fumble. The Mounties were unable to put points on the board for the 5th time this season.

The 2021 Mounties ended their season with a 3-7 overall record and a 3-3 record in Region 5. Their record does not tell the full story of their season.

This team found itself with a new head coach after Jamie Mitchell left for Hillcrest in early April. Rueben Nelson was named the head coach on April 22, three weeks before the spring game.

Nelson is looking forward to hitting the reset button. “Hopefully, over the next few days, we can get over it and get back to work,” he said.

Wide receiver coach Jarvis Houston summed the season up. “I’m extremely proud of the guys for fighting to the end. Things didn’t go as we all hoped, but we saw a lot of positive things this year. We had some bumps in the road, but overall these guys never gave up on this coaching staff and each other. Even though we didn’t win a lot of games, I saw some boys grow into young men this season, and that what’s this is all about. I wanted to win every game, but it didn’t turn out like that, but we did win by seeing these guys grow into young men.”

Even though the season comes to an early end for the 2021 team, they can be proud that they have started to change the culture and laid a foundation for the future.

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