On Friday nights, the Shelbyville Golden Bears football team works to overcome deficiencies as the program’s rebuild continues.
Bigger, faster, stronger are words that can describe most opponents.
But the Golden Bears have recovered their fight. It was evident in Friday’s sectional quarterfinal when Bedford North Lawrence jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Shelbyville rallied back with 14 unanswered points before the Stars took control and scored the final 21 of the first half and moved on with a Class 4A, Sectional 23 quarterfinal win, 42-21.
The Stars (6-4) jumped out to a 7-0 lead after forcing Shelbyville to punt on the game’s first possession. Starting at the 15-yard line, the BNL 85-yard drive was highlighted by two catches for 44 yards by 6-foot, two-inch junior wide receiver Ryker Hughes. Starting tailback Cal Gates capped the drive with a three-yard run.
Shelbyville’s next possession also ended with a punt that did not get far off the foot of Bears’ punter Jackson Parker. BNL blocked the attempt and a convenient bounce was recovered by senior lineman Greg Gilbert who scrambled into the endzone for a 14-0 lead with 3:26 remaining in the first quarter.
Shelbyville (1-9) would respond.
Senior Jordan Marcum, in his final game at McKeand Stadium, scored on a six-yard run in the opening minute of the second quarter to pull within 14-7. The Golden Bears recovered a fumble at the SHS 32-yard line by BNL junior quarterback Memphis Louden. On the subsequent drive, Shelbyville chose to go for it on a fourth down and two from the 40-yard line.
Junior running back Axel Conover escaped down the right sideline and scored on a 60-yard run to tie the game at 14.
Conover led the Shelbyville rushing attack with 105 yards on 14 carries.
But Shelbyville didn’t have a first-half answer for Louden, who was 10-for-14 passing with 171 yards in the opening two quarters. The versatile quarterback also used his legs to run for a six-yard touchdown with 5:46 left in the second quarter to regain the lead, 21-14.
Two more Stars touchdowns opened up a 35-14 halftime lead. Gates scored his second rushing touchdown of the game to run the lead back to 14 points, 28-14.
Then, with 3.4 seconds left in the half, Louden found Ryker Hughes with a high arcing pass in the back of the endzone to give the Stars a 21-point halftime lead.
Hughes leads a veteran BNL wide receiver staff with seven touchdown catches.
Shelbyville’s defense provided opportunities in the third quarter with two interceptions of Louden. The first by senior Cael Lux at the Shelbyville 38-yard line ended in a Golden Bears' possession that turned the ball over on downs. But the second, a pick by Conover at the Stars 20-yard line, turned into a five-yard touchdown pass from Eli Chappelow to senior Jackson Parker with 10:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. With the Aiden Helfer-Vazquez extra point Shelbyville was again within two scores, 35-21.
Chappelow was 7-for-12 passing for 88 yards and a touchdown. Parker caught four passes for 62 yards.
Shelbyville would get no closer, though.
BNL’s Gates capped the scoring with his third rushing score of the night with 5:39 left.
Shelbyville head coach Brian Glesing on the GIANT fm Sports Cagney's Pizza King postgame with Johnny McCrory and Mark Drake.
Louden finished 12-for-18 passing for 186 yards. He threw for one score and ran in another. He did commit three turnovers with a fumble and two interceptions.
Bedford North Lawrence advances to next week’s semifinal in Sectional 23 to play No. 13-ranked Martinsville. The Artesians shut out Greenwood, 49-0.
In the bottom of the Sectional 23 bracket, Silver Creek outscored Jennings County, 53-42 to face No. 3 East Central. The Trojans advanced with a win over Edgewood, 53-0.