Big plays hurt Marauders

SHELBYVILLE — The Class 4A Shelbyville Golden Bears had a few chances to break the game open against 4A Mt. Vernon; but other than two big plays in the second half, the Marauder defense held them at bay.

However, an efficient offensive first half for Shelbyville was enough to outweigh Mt. Vernon’s attacks as the Bears notched another Hoosier Heritage Conference victory 35-28.

The two opponents will meet again in two Fridays during their Sectional 22 matchup.

“We want to eliminate giving up the big plays,” Mt. Vernon head coach Neil Kazmierczak said for their next game. “But we also want to take the good stuff we did. We had some nice stops, good stands by the defense and some great offensive drives. We just need to be more consistent.”

The Shelbyville offense scored in three of their four drives in the first quarter. The only one they didn’t score on was when Kraig Hancock snatched a Marauder interception. In the second half, however, the Marauders defense forced four punts and outscored them by a touchdown but it wasn’t enough.

Two plays totaling 136 yards put the nail in Mt. Vernon’s coffin. Mt. Vernon was three scores down at half, 28-7, and brought it within two after Braxton Trittipo’s second touchdown reception from Tyson Harley. But a 65-yard passing touchdown from Shelbyville found its way through the defense after a missed Mt. Vernon tackle.

A Marauder fumble could have been the demise of Mt. Vernon with them trailing by two scores but a 4-and-out was capped with a bad Shelbyville snap which set up the Marauders for an easy 4-yard drive.

This is when the second big play halted any further Mt. Vernon comeback. The 6-2, 185-pound Damon Lux barreled his way through the Mt. Vernon defense for a 65-yard rushing touchdown.

“We really hurt ourselves,” Kazmierczak said. “Give them credit for making those big plays. We were not in position like we should have been on those.”

A few key stops from Mt. Vernon and the flipside offense kept battling but the Marauder touchdown in the last few minutes wasn’t enough. Shelbyville recovered the onside kick on their way to victory.

“I really liked the way our offense kept coming back,” he said. “You can see they’re maturing and getting there. We just needed one more possession.”

The offense consistently bared down on third and fourth-down conversions. Despite two key turnover on downs in the first quarter – one an inch short and another a yard short – Harley drove through the

Bear defense for 170 yards on 21 completions.

“Between the receivers and Tyson throwing some really good passes and picking up some really key third and fourth downs, that was a good step for us,” Kazmierczak said.

Trittipo had eight completions for 82 yards and two touchdowns. Adam Lackey and Cole Van Slyke also had touchdown receptions.

The Marauders (2-6, 1-5 HHC) will continue the season against Yorktown in a home game at 7:30 p.m. next Friday.