The victory celebration on Aug. 27 was raucous following Shelbyville’s 22-16 victory over Richmond. The win ended a 26-game losing streak for the Golden Bears.
The loss was the first of eight straight for the Red Devils, who return to McKeand Stadium Friday night for the opening round of Class 4A, Sectional 21.
“Obviously, (the draw) is about as good as we could do but the interesting thing is Richmond is just as happy as we are,” said Shelbyville head coach Brian Glesing. “It’s good for both teams because both teams are hungry for a win and both teams have struggled all year long. And they will be hungry for revenge.”
Sectional 21 features four one-win teams and they all landed in the same half of the bracket meaning one of them will play for a sectional championship in two weeks.
Shelbyville’s stunning win over Richmond preceded a three-week hiatus for the football program which was stripped of players due to COVID-19 protocols. The Golden Bears also were stripped of any momentum gained by their best performance in three seasons.
Since the return Sept. 24 against Yorktown, Shelbyville has been shut out four straight contests. The Tigers defeated the Golden Bears, 35-0, and losses to New Palestine (52-0), Mt. Vernon (49-0) and Pendleton Heights (42-0) followed.
Glesing knows the Golden Bears have to get the ground game churning Friday night against the Red Devils (1-8), who have allowed 39 points per game this season.
“Our kids are still positive. They understand the talent level (we played the last four weeks),” said Glesing. “We’ve had a good week so far and a lot of the kids have been through this before. We have to continue to plug away.”
Turnovers plagued Richmond in its first trip to Shelbyville this season. Offensively, the Golden Bears moved the first down chains throughout the game which left the Red Devils frustrated.
“Turnovers were big and we were able to run the ball a little bit,” said Glesing. “We did some good things but that seems like eons ago. I know they will be hungry. It will be a different Richmond team. We have to play our best football game to win.”
Sophomore Jayden Shipp led Richmond in week two but senior John Carter has taken over at quarterback as the season progressed. Carter has completed 49% of his pass attempts for 872 yards and nine touchdowns.
Lucas Hall and Demarco Owens have combined for 103 rushes for 599 yards and eight TDs. Marquis Johnson leads the team with 41 receptions for 637 yards and five TDs.
“They are going to do the same stuff,” said Glesing despite the quarterback change. “They like to spread it out and throw it, they like the zone reads and a little power. They are kind of like us in they have struggled all year.”
Shelbyville will counter with quarterback Eli Chappelow under center. The sophomore led the program’s junior varsity team to an undefeated record this season.
Chappelow has completed 12-of-20 pass attempts in Friday night games this season.
“Eli will start but that does not mean Colton (Adkins) is out,” said Glesing. “I think Eli has earned the spot as the starting quarterback but Colton is right there. We might play both of them. We will see how it goes.”
Cael Lux leads the Golden Bears in rushing with 324 yards on 93 attempts, including three touchdowns. Jordan Marcum (8 carries, 65 yards) will get more carries from the backfield this week.
“We’ve taught him a couple more plays,” said Glesing of Marcum. “When you switch positions in the middle of the year it’s always tough to learn.”
A win Friday would get the program another week of practice and growth. And it would provide a second straight winnable game, which could earn the program an additional week of much-needed practice.
“Turnovers are a big deal and not giving up the big play defensively,” said Glesing of Friday night’s keys. “I think we were able to do that the first time around.”
For two teams clamoring for a second win, a fast start Friday would be a big positive.
“We haven’t scored a point since August,” said Glesing. “And both teams need confidence. I think both teams understand what we are dealing with. Confidence is key.”
In other Sectional 21 games Friday, Muncie Central (1-8) is at Connersville (1-8); Pendleton Heights (5-4) travels to Mt. Vernon (8-1); and Greenfield-Central (6-3) is at New Castle (2-7).
With a win over Richmond, Shelbyville will travel to Muncie Central or Connersville for a Sectional 21 semifinal game.