INDIANAPOLIS — When one team wanted to score, the other could not. Then both offenses decided to join the fourth-quarter shootout.
However, Mt. Vernon, despite trailing 14-0 after the first quarter, used big plays from junior quarterback Zac Mongtomery and its receivers to steal a 28-21 win against Class 4A No. 10 Shelbyville on Saturday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Montgomery, who finished with four passing touchdowns in the win, threw two in the final 3:05, including a 44-yard strike to senior Mitch McCarthy with just over a minute to play, which proved to be the game-winning score.
Shelbyville countered with a 46-yard pass from John Lux to Cooper Lewis with 2:06 on the clock, joining the late-scoring party but stalled on its last drive thanks to a stout performance from the Marauders’ defense.
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Montgomery was 19 of 29 passing for 264 yards and was named the game’s most valuable player.
“We had a lot of guys, myself included, step up and make plays when we needed them,” Montgomery said. “It was a great team win and definitely a game that we’ll all remember for a long time. We knew it would be a different atmosphere, but I think we all handed it well.”
Shelbyville took a 14-0 lead into the second quarter after two passing touchdowns from senior quarterback John Lux, who owns just about every passing record possible for the Golden Bears.
The Marauders (5-3, 5-1 Hoosier Heritage Conference) countered in the second, though, with 14 points of their own as the teams went into halftime locked at 14. Montgomery found Cole Van Slyke for a 25-yard touchdown with no time on the clock just before the break.
“Offensively, we’ve started to do better,” Montgomery added. “For these guys, going from a Wing-T offense to a spread offense is a big jump. We’re starting to execute and put positive drives together consistently.”
In an odd third quarter filled with turnovers and penalties, neither team found the end zone. Even through the fourth quarter, Mt. Vernon and Shelbyville (6-2, 4-2 HHC) failed to find rhythm.
Then the switch flipped.
First, Montgomery found Alex Barnett — after scrambling — on the right side of the end zone for a score with 3:05 left to play. Lux would answer approximately a minute later with a 46-yard strike to Cooper Lewis down the left sideline, making the score 21-20.
Mt. Vernon missed its extra-point attempt on the Barnett score. It eventually did not matter, though, as Montgomery drove his team to the other end of the field to find McCarthy, who caught the game-winning score while falling to the artificial turf. The Marauders successfully converted their two-point conversion.
Van Slyke finished with six catches for 69 yards, while Barnett had four for 64 yards. Damari Gatewood finished with 64 receiving yards and McCarthy added 52 off five catches.
“(They) take a lot of pressure off me,” Montgomery said of his receiving corps. “Especially when they’re making clutch catches in the game. The best part is we all feel like we’ve just scratched the surface of what we can really do.”
Mt. Vernon missed two field goals and an extra point attempt in the game, as well. The Marauders also finished with 17 first downs and 10 penalties for 65 yards.
The Golden Bears tallied 11 first downs and had 13 penalties for 157 yards. Lux finished 16 of 27 passing for 227 yards and added 58 yards on the ground. The Lewis brothers, Cooper and Sam, finished with 167 total yards between the pair.
Mt. Vernon 28, Shelbyville 21
MVHS;(5-3, 5-1 HHC);0;14;0;14;-;28
SHS;(6-2, 4-2 HHC);14;0;0;7;-;21
SHS- Jalaen Ramsey 10-yard reception from John Lux (kick good), 7:45.
SHS – Cooper Lewis 25-yard reception from John Lux (kick good), 1:29.
MV – Cole Van Slyke 25-yard reception from Zac Montgomery (Hancock kick), 7:25
MV – Cole Van Slyke 30-yard reception from Zac Montgomery (Hancock kick), 0:00.
MV – Alex Barnett 31-yard reception from Zac Montgomery (kick fail), 3:05.
SHS – Cooper Lewis 46-yard reception from John Lux (kick good), 2:06.
MV – Mitch McCarthy 44-yard reception from Zac Montgomery (2-pt good), 1:07.