SHELBINA, Mo. (WGEM) -- No matter the annual turn over on the roster and the change up front, in the back field, and on defense, there never seems to be a letdown for the South Shelby football program.
It's only fitting the Cardinals are back where they usually are this time of year just two wins away from a state title berth.
But it certainly hasn't been easy.
The team's brutal regular season schedule, as good as it can be to prepare for districts and beyond, was filled with ups and downs.
However, Rob Wilt's group cruised through their first two district opponents by a combined 80 points and Monday, they picked up their biggest victory of the season at No. 7 Westran thanks to a two point conversion stand in the game's final seconds.
"It was a tough battle. Every down was hard," senior Alex Blackford admitted.
"I know a couple of us came home with some bumps and bruises, but it was fun overall. It was a battle."
Senior Wes Mefford says a win like that can do nothing but improve their state of mind.
"I think it was huge to be able to knock off a Top 10 team like that, and hold them (on the two point conversion)," Mefford explained.
"It was a big confidence boost for us. Hopefully we can pull it out on Saturday."
The offense has received a boost from the Cardinals traditional bread and butter, their running game. Sophomore Trace Windsor is closing in on 2,000 yards on the ground this season while Blackford has a shot to reach the 1,000 yard plateau before all is said and done.
The offense line has been the key behind not only their ability to run the football, but the occasional pass to keep opposing defenses on their heels.
"It's just a really good experience," Windsor said of his first full season on the first team offense.
"(I did) not play much on the offensive side last year and to come out and have the type of season I've had is kind of the perfect situation."
According to Mefford, "I think we're more balanced this year. We throw the ball a lot better and more than we have in the past. Our running game is still strong with Trace and we've still got (Andrew) Teel back there as our fullback as a threat also, and our line is just as good as it's always been."
Windsor added: "I think it just means we have a good (offensive) line. (Alex and I) are both good athletes but I have to give all the credit to our line. They work their butts off and they are what gives us our rushing game."
South Shelby now turns its focus to beating another Top 10 foe on the road.
The Cardinals travel to No. 8 Salisbury on Saturday with a Final Four berth on the line. Kick-off is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
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