Tigers outduel Paoli for first-ever football playoff win
The school history books at Wilson High School added another entry this past Friday night.
The latest notation was the first-ever football playoff victory following the Tigers’ 6038 win at the Tiger Den.
The first-ever postseason win came in the opening round of the Class C state football playoffs against the Paoli Pugs.
The opening-round victory pushed the Tigers’ 2023 season record to 10-1 and moved the Wilson gridiron squad one step closer to another possible ‘first’ (state championship).
The win, which secured Wilson’s first-ever double-digit win total in eight seasons, put the Tigers into this Friday’s Class C quarterfinals at home against third-ranked Ryan Cowboys, who began their playoff journey last Friday with a 42-28 win at home against Tyrone.
Friday’s quarterfinal showdown with Ryan is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Tiger Den with the winner advancing to next week’s semifinal round against the winner of Friday’s quarterfinal battle in Timberlake between the host Tim- berlake Tigers and Wilson’s District C-3 mate, the Coyle Bluejackets.
In last Friday’s opening-round battle with Paoli, the Tigers opened the scoring with a 47-yard aerial strike from Charles Shelburn to Keshon Shelburn in the first quarter. Charles Shelburn crossed the goal line on the conversion run attempt to give Wilson the early 8-0 advantage.
The visitors answered with a 30-yard TD run and successful conversion run attempt to deadlock the score at 8-8, while Zabrien Shelburn’s 3-yard RD run and successful conversion run attempt later in the first quarter put the host Tigers back on top, 16-8.
Paoli responded with a 5-yard TD run in the final minutes of the opening frame. The Wilson defense kept the Pug ballcarrier out of the end zone on the conversion try to send the teams to the next stanza with the host Tigers clinging to a narrow 16-14 advantage.
Charles Shelburn’s 30-yard pass to Keshon Shelburn in the early minutes of the second quarter pushed Wilson’s lead to 22-14, while Paoli knotted the score at 22-22 later in the frame with a 30-yard TD pass and successful conversion run attempt.
The final tally of the first half belonged to the host Tigers, as Zion Shelburn rocketed down the field for a 96-yard TD run. Zabrien Shelburn bulldozed his way into the end zone on the conversion try to give Wilson a 30-22 halftime lead.
Paoli tied the score at 30-30 with a 10-yard TD pass and successful conversion run to begin the third-quarter scoring, while Esiah King returned the ensuing kickoff 50 yards to paydirt for the next Wilson score. Zion Shelburn’s successful conversion run put the host Tigers in front by eight, 38-30.
The visitors closed out the third-quarter scoring with a 10-yard TD run and successful conversion run for a 38-38 deadlock with 12 minutes remaining in regulation.
The final frame belonged to Wilson, as the host Tigers found the end zone three times in the stanza, beginning with a 40-yard TD run by Keshon Shelburn and successful conversion run attempt by Zabrien Shelburn.
Zabrien Shelburn extended the Wilson lead to 5438 later in the quarter with a 30-yard TD run and successful conversion run attempt.
The final Tiger tally in the opening-round victory came on the defensive side of the field, as Ethan Cullum scooped up a Paoli fumble at the Wilson 10-yard line and scampered 90 yards for the defensive score to put the finishing touches on the Tigers’ 60-38 victory.
— Wilson 60, Paoli 38
Paoli: 14 – 8 – 16 – 0 (38) Wilson: 16 – 14 – 8 – 22 (60) — First Quarter
Wilson – Keshon Shelburn, 47-yard pass from Charles Shelburn (Charles Shelburn run) Paoli – 30-yard run (Run Good) Wilson – Zabrien Shelburn, 3-yard run (Zabrien Shelburn run) Paoli – 5-yard run (Run Failed) — Second Quarter
Wilson – Keshon Shelburn, 30-yard pass from Charles Shelburn (Run Failed) Paoli – 30-yard pass (Run Good) Wilson – Zion Shelburn, 96-yard run (Zabrien Shelburn run) — Third Quarter
Paoli – 10-yard pass (Run Good) Wilson – Esiah King, 50-yard kickoff return (Zion Shelburn run) Paoli – 10-yard run (Run Good) — Fourth Quarter
Wilson – Keshon Shelburn, 40-yard run (Zabrien Shelburn run) Wilson – Zabrien Shelburn, 30-yard run (Zabrien Shelburn run) Wilson – Ethan Cullum, 90-yard fumble return (Run Failed)