RALEIGH, N.C. – The Golden Lions of Shelby had lived up to the “Golden” moniker all season long as the Lions had never trailed at any point of the 2016 football season coming into the school’s fourth straight appearance in the state championship game. They never trailed in the 2AA title game either, as Shelby took down Northside-Jacksonville 28-6 to win the school’s ninth state title all-time and their fourth straight.
Shelby opened the scoring just 48 seconds into the contest as Devin Gullatte score the first of his two touchdowns on the day from three yards out. The Lions tacked on another score as quarterback Malik Sarratt improvised to find Juwan Sims in the flats before Sims powered his way into the endzone to give Shelby a 14-0 with 7:13 to go in the first quarter.
Sims was named the game’s Most Valuable Player as he caught two passes for 19 yards and a score while rushing for 152 yards on 21 carries. Sarratt was picked as Shelby’s Most Outstanding Offensive Performer completing 10 of 9 passes for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns while rushing for 24 yards. Dax Hollifield was chosen as the Most Outstanding Defensive player for the Lions with 16 total tackles on the day, 3.5 for a loss, a single sack and fumble recovery.
Shelby’s stud receiver Jayden Borders got free to haul in a 7 yard pass from Sarratt late in the second quarter, giving the Lions a 21-0 halftime lead. Borders finished the day with five catches for 86 yards and a score.
Northside-Jacksonville came out in the second half and continued to fight even down by 21. Jonte McMullen found Cameron Rogers who made a beautiful one-handed catch in stride down the sideline for a 33-yard score. The point after was blocked and the Lions held a 21-6 advantage with 7:10 to go in the third quarter.
Gullatte’s second touchdown of the day ended the scoring with a two-yard run with 11:09 to play in the game making the score 28-6.
Northside-Jacksonville completed the season 12-4, finishing second in the East Central 2A Conference behind East Duplin, a team they defeated in the regional finals. The Monarchs made the school’s first appearance in an NCHSAA Football State Championship game.
Shelby finished the season 16-0, champions of the South Mountain Athletic 2A/3A Conference. The senior class completed the rare sweep as members of the senior class were a part of the State Championship team in all four years of their time at Shelby. They became the fourth school in history to win four straight football state championships.