John Lux has been in contact with several college football programs with regard to his playing future.
After Friday night’s performance in Franklin, a few more may be calling.
The Shelbyville quarterback passed for 484 yards and five touchdowns to lead Class 4A, No. 9-ranked Shelbyville to a hard-fought 38-26 victory over the Grizzly Cubs (0-2).
After matching scores with Franklin in each of the first three quarters, Shelbyville scored three unanswered touchdowns in the final nine minutes to get the win and a 2-0 start for the second straight season.
“That was a really good ball game by both teams. There were a lot of exciting things going on out there on both sides of the ball,” said Shelbyville head coach Pat Parks, who evened his career coaching record with the Golden Bears at 114-114.
Neither defense had many answers for the opposing quarterbacks in the 73rd meeting between the neighboring programs. Lux completed 25-of-45 pass attempts and ran for 38 more yards. Meanwhile, Franklin option quarterback Jake Moore provided his own challenges.
Moore, who did not take over the signal-calling duties until week four in 2015, meaning his missed the week two meeting with Shelbyville, ran for 167 yards and passed for 131 more. But two of Franklin’s final three drives of the game ended with Moore turnovers (an interception and a fumble).
“We didn’t do much defensively. Their option was that much different and that much better than what we saw a week ago (against Greensburg),” said Parks.
But the defense made plays in crunch time. Facing third-and-long midway through the fourth quarter in a tie game, Jalaen Ramsey intercepted Moore’s pass to put the ball back in Lux’s hands. And that was a good thing.
Three plays later, Damon Lux took a screen pass and raced 46 yards for his third touchdown of the game. And that gave the Golden Bears the lead for good.
On Franklin’s very next play, Moore attempted to run the option that was effective much of the night but he got stood up at the line of scrimmage and Shelbyville linebacker Melvin Justice stripped away the ball.
The Golden Bears failed to capitalize when Tim Clark missed a 30-yard field goal attempt but the defense had Moore and the Grizzly Cubs reeling.
A long run by fullback Tyler Fromer got Franklin to midfield on its next possession but that was as far as the offense would get. A quarterback sack and two incomplete passes gave Shelbyville the ball once again and, once again, John Lux put the ball in the air.
He connected with Ramsey from 32 yards out to close out the scoring.
Lux’s nearly 500 yards passing came through six different receivers. Damon Lux had 12 catches for 229 yards (one rushing TD, two receiving TDs). Ramsey finished with for catches for 124 yards (3 TDs). Avery Allen had 94 yards on four catches, including a 66-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter that set up Damon Lux’s 1-yard scoring run.
Matt Kenkel (two catches, 23 yards), Dalton Fuchs (2 catches, 6 yards) and Luke Reed (1 catch, 8 yards) all helped showcase Shelbyville’s aerial attack.
“We’re just really tapping the surface I think,” said Parks. “I told the kids I’m waiting for us to put a whole one together. And when we do, we’re going to be very good.
“Until then, we have to learn from the mistakes we’re making and continue to get better and continue to be confident in what we can do. I really felt every time we had the ball we could score but a lot of times we were shooting ourselves in the foot… getting a penalty here or there or doing something that just didn’t keep our momentum going.”
For the second week in a row turnovers were the key to victory.
The Golden Bears recovered four Greensburg fumbles in week one and had three recoveries on Friday. More importantly, Shelbyville’s offense did not have a turnover against Franklin.
In two weeks, Shelbyville is plus-6 in turnover ratio.
After Tim Clark had a nearly perfect debut against Greensburg, Shelbyville’s new kicker struggled at Franklin.
The sophomore was 2-for-4 on extra-point kicks, was tackled short of the end zone on a fake extra-point kick and run and kicked the ball out-of-bounds on three kickoffs. Plus, he missed on field-goal attempts of 30 and 32 yards.
After Shelbyville’s final score, the Golden Bears went for two points but John Lux’s pass was incomplete.
Franklin also struggled with extra points after touchdowns. Kicker Spencer Downhour missed his first two attempts and a 2-point conversion pass attempt by Jake Moore was incomplete.
Thunderstorms in and around central Indiana wreaked havoc Friday night.
While almost no rain fell at Franklin High School, the game was delayed 70 minutes due to lightning in the area.
The Golden Bears arrived at 5 p.m. but were not allowed out of the lockerroom to warm-up until 7:45 p.m. The game ended just past 11 p.m.
Shelbyville opens its Hoosier Heritage Conference schedule with a road trip to Delta (2-0), who defeated Shenandoah, 30-20, on Friday night.
The last time the Golden Bears won at Delta was Oct. 12, 2007 (31-27).
Jeff Brown is the Sports editor of The Shelbyville News. Follow Jeff on Twitter at @iamtsnsports.