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What's been a turnaround season for the Bandys football team abruptly ended Friday in Shelby.
The Trojans fell behind 21-3 and never caught up, losing in the third round of the 2AA playoffs to the Golden Lions (9-5). Bandys' season ends with a 10-4 record.
"We've played hard," said Bandys coach Randy Lowman. "We've beaten some good teams, and we've struggled against some. I've said all along that this team, for the most part, is about as good as we've had â€¦ We have a bunch of good kids that play really hard. I love them. I'd take them again next year. This bunch has given us everything we've asked of them."
Shelby built an early lead with three speedy plays â€” two touchdown runs by running back Bryan Moss and an 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Darnell Russell.
"(Moss) is the best running back we've seen," Lowman said. "He doesn't go down. He runs like a 200-pounder, except he's not a 200-pounder. He's the best running back we've seen without a doubt."
After a 17-yard touchdown pass from Bandys quarterback David Barrow to Hunter Lackey late in the second quarter, the Trojans trailed 24-10 at the half.
The Trojans looked to inch closer early in the second half after the defense intercepted Shelby quarterback Daylan Fuller to set up a potential scoring opportunity.
However, Bandys fumbled two plays later inside Shelby's 10-yard line, and the Golden Lions put together a 92-yard scoring drive capped by a 6-yard pass from Fuller to Demarrius Harden.
"That would have made it 24-17, if we scored there," Lowman said. "We turned it right back over to them. I think our guys tried to make a push coming into the second half. We gave ourselves a great opportunity. When they took it 92 yards and scored, it went from a seven-point game to a 21-point game."
Troubles continued to mount for the Trojans. After Bandys punted on its next offensive possession, Fuller made the Trojans pay. He pump-faked a short pass before tossing a ball deep to Wesley Hillman.
Lowman said Fuller's protection helped him and the Shelby running game tremendously.
"We've played teams that are as fast as they are, but they don't have four 300-pounders on the line in front of them," he said.
Lowman said the Bandys defense had to cope with Shelby's athleticism.
"Speed was the hardest thing to match up with," Lowman said. "They've got guys all over the field that they could spread out and run everywhere. They've got more fast people on the field at one time."
Barrow scored on a 41-yard touchdown run in the second half, which ended up being the final score for the Trojans in the game.
Shelby plays in the Western Regional championship Friday against undefeated West Stokes, who beat South Iredell, 28-14.
As for his future after over 20 years of coaching the football team at Bandys, Lowman said he has no intentions of retiring just yet.
"I haven't thought past tomorrow. I am waiting to see where I had to go trade tapes tomorrow," he joked. "I'm not sitting here trying to talk myself out of it. My plans are to be back with these guys."