CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Cleveland football coach Marty Wheeler pointed to two main causes of his team's 50-14 loss to Shelbyville on Friday night.
One started last week, when the Blue Raiders put a ton of emotion in what turned into a loss to rival Bradley Central, and finished this week, when they didn't approach the nonregion matchup against the Eagles with the same intensity. The other is ongoing but has no immediate fix: There is work to do in the weight room.
The Eagles were dominant at Raider Field, totaling 639 yards of total offense in a 50-14 win. Class 5A Shelbyville (5-2) — its losses are to Tullahoma and Marshall County, ranked third and fourth, respectively, in 4A — rushed for 427 yards and had 409 yards of total offense in a first half that ended with the visitors up 30-7.
It could have been worse: Shelbyville had 105 yards of penalties in the first half.
"We've got to learn around here that no matter who we're playing, whatever the game is, you've got to move past the previous week," Wheeler said. "This stuff here, when we can't put a particular game behind us if it doesn't go our way, it has to stop. There are no excuses."
Shelbyville quarterback Cade Cunningham fooled Cleveland (3-4) with option keepers all game long, rushing for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He also passed for 212 yards and two scores. Demarcus Smalls added 140 yards on the ground and three touchdowns.
Over the past two weeks, Cleveland has allowed 801 rushing yards.
Shelbyville forced a safety on Cleveland's first possession and also intercepted a pass. A week after throwing for more than 300 yards against Bradley, Blue Raiders quarterbacks Gage Kinsey and Drew Lambert combined to pass for 144, with 90 of it coming on a pitch-and-catch from Lambert to Destun Thomas, who shook off a tackler and sprinted for the score.
Cleveland's other score came on a 58-yard run by Tetoe Boyd, who had 73 of his 92 rushing yards in the second half.
"We're playing with a lot of young guys up front, and so we're at a bit of a disadvantage. That's what a weight room is for," said Wheeler, whose team returns to Region 2-6A competition next week against McMinn County.
"We have to understand it's a maturity thing where you've got to grow up and be able to put what happens the previous week past you, and we didn't do a very good job of it. Our biggest issues, though, I believe have to be fixed in the weight room."
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @genehenley3.