For the fourth-straight week, Shelbyville faces a top-15 ranked opponent – all members of the Hoosier Heritage Conference.
On Friday, Mt. Vernon (4-3, 4-1 HHC), the defending Class 4A state champions, travel to McKeand Stadium for a week eight tilt.
The Marauders were the preseason top-ranked team in the Indiana Football Coaches Association poll following a 14-1 season that culminated with a 45-14 win over Northridge in the state championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Graduation took Mt. Vernon’s quarterback Gehrig Slunaker (3,028 passing yards, 34 touchdowns), top two rushers in Keagan LaBelle (1,594 rushing yards, 26 TDs) and Travon Hegler (811 yards, 13 TDs), and top receiver in Ashden Gentry (1,271 receiving yards, 13 TDs).
The Marauders weren’t quite ready to reload to start the season and struggled with losses at Noblesville (43-35) and Franklin (20-17). Following a 35-28 win over Greenfield-Central, Class 4A, No. 1 New Palestine added a third loss to Mt. Vernon’s season, 42-6.
Since then, the Marauders have settled in and won three straight at Delta (42-28), at Pendleton Heights (46-14) and against New Castle (41-20).
“They are still good. They are still Mt. Vernon. They have athletes everywhere,” said Shelbyville head coach Brian Glesing. “They have gotten better each week I think.”
Freshman Luke Ertel is now the signal caller. The five-foot, 10-inch tall lefty already has 1,057 yards passing this season with eight TDs and four interceptions.
The offense has rushed for 1,180 yards but most of the yards are spread out amongst senior Eli Bridenthal (47 carries, 367 yards, 10 TDs), senior Drew Martin (46 carries, 237 yards) and sophomore Joliba Brogan (45 carries, 259 yards).
“They spread you out and throw it and run it,” said Glesing.
Senior George Burhenn returns from the state championship team and leads the Marauders in receptions (27), yards (491) and receiving TDs (5). Bridenthal is a close second at 25 receptions for 393 yards and four TDs.
The Mt. Vernon defense is allowing nearly 28 points per game this season against a schedule ranked as one of the top 50 strongest in the state.
“They are aggressive defensively,” said Glesing. “They can give up a big play at any time.”
Shelbyville’s offense has produced one touchdown over the last three weeks. Junior quarterback Eli Chappelow (photo) returns to the field this week after missing the New Palestine game with a knee injury.
For the season, Chappelow has completed 51% of his 72 pass attempts for 558 yards and three TDs. He also has rushed for 128 yards and three TDs.
Axel Conover continues to lead Shelbyville with 324 rushing yards and four TDs.
Jackson Parker, who stepped into the starting quarterback role against New Palestine, is the leading receiver with 16 receptions for 190 yards. Cael Lux follows with 10 catches and 200 yards.
Lux is seven total tackles short of reaching 100 tackles this season. No other Golden Bear has 50.
Shelbyville will close out the regular-season schedule on Oct. 14 at home against Pendleton Heights (3-4, 2-3 HHC).
Shelbyville at Class 4A, No. 13 Mt. Vernon
Game Time: 7 p.m. at Mt. Vernon in Fortville, Ind.
Media coverage: 6 p.m. pregame show live from Mt. Vernon High School with Johnny McCrory and Jason Parker on GIANT fm (96.5 fm, 106.3 fm, 1520 am) or on the GIANT fm app.
Head coaches: Vince Lidy, 18-4 in 2nd year at Mt. Vernon; Brian Glesing, 2-12 in 2nd year at Shelbyville, 120-106 in 20th year overall.
2022 record: Shelbyville 1-6, 1-4 Hoosier Heritage Conference; Mt. Vernon 4-3, 4-1 HHC.
2021 record: Shelbyville 1-6; Mt. Vernon 14-1.
Sagarin ratings: Shelbyville, 28.1, 234th overall, 52nd in Class 4A; Mt. Vernon 71.06. 61st overall, 13th in Class 4A.
Point spread: Mt. Vernon is favored by 45 points.
Last meeting: Mt. Vernon defeated Shelbyville 49-0 at McKeand Stadium.
Last 10 meetings: Mt. Vernon has won eight of the last 10 meetings. Shelbyville’s last win came on Oct. 6, 2017, 35-28, at McKeand Stadium.
Around the HHC Friday: Greenfield-Central (4-3, 2-3 HHC) at Delta (3-4, 1-4 HHC); Class 4A, No. 1 New Palestine (7-0, 5-0 HHC) at New Castle (2-5, 1-4 HHC); Class 3A, No. 14 Yorktown (6-1, 4-1 HHC) at Pendleton Heights (3-4, 2-3 HHC).
Sectional 23 lookahead: Class 4A, No. 8 Martinsville (6-1); Bedford North Lawrence (4-3); Class 4A, No. 3 East Central (6-1); Shelbyville (1-6); Silver Creek (3-4); Edgewood (1-6); Jennings County (1-6); Greenwood (1-6).
Note: The IHSAA Football State Tournament Pairings Show is Sunday at 5 p.m. on IHSAAtv.org.