McGwire Albert

Shelby quarterback McGwire Albert throws a pass in a season-opening win at Madison.

SHELBY — He had the unenviable task of replacing the most prolific passer in school history, but quarterback McGwire Albert is fashioning an impressive legacy of his own at Shelby.

The Richland Bank Athlete of the Week, Albert threw for 262 yards and five touchdowns as the Whippets ran their record to 2-0 with a 42-14 win over Richland County rival Lexington.

In two games, Albert has completed 24 of 49 passes for 477 yards and six touchdowns without an interception. He’s also rushed for 116 yards and two TDs on 12 carries.

“We knew we were going to have to throw the ball this week the way (Lexington) plays their defense,” first-year Mapleton coach Rob Mahaney said. “We had some matchups we liked. (Albert) did a good job of staying in command and putting the ball where it needed to be.”

A senior, Albert took over as Shelby’s full-time starter last fall. He threw for more than 1,500 yards, but the Whippets staggered to a 5-5 finish after opening the season with three straight wins.

The rangy 6-foot-5 Albert started the first three games of his sophomore season while filling in for a suspended Brennan Armstrong, now a quarterback at the University of Virginia. Albert led the Whippets to three wins to open the 2017 season, completing 29 of 41 passes for 623 yards and 14 touchdowns. Armstrong would return to lead Shelby to a regional championship and a berth in the state semifinals, breaking every program passing record along the way.

“I got to learn from one of the best,” Albert said at the time. “Just watching the way he prepared each week, he took everything seriously.”

With wins over Division II Madison and Lexington, Shelby is alone atop the Division IV, Region 14 standings. The Whippets will face their biggest test to date Friday when they travel to Sunbury to take on Division II Big Walnut (1-1). Shelby begins Mid-Ohio Athletic Conference play at Ontario the following week.

Shelby should be in the hunt for the MOAC title, along with Clear Fork and Pleasant.

“When we put our mind to anything we can accomplish great things this season,” Albert said after Friday’s win. “All preparation goes to our coaches. They put us in a great position to win tonight.”

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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