NEW PALESTINE — The Dragons and Marauders played like two teams that own one of the state’s oldest football rivalries Friday at Kelso Stadium.
Well, maybe that’s because they do.
Mt. Vernon is the only school New Palestine has played every season since 1968. It showed Friday in a physical Battle for the Boundary Rail game, as the Dragons continued their dominance with a 59-7 Hoosier Heritage Conference win against the Marauders.
The win gives New Palestine several achievements: One, 10 of 11 wins in the Boundary Rail game (and the trophy that comes with it). Two, a school record for most consecutive regular season wins (22). And three, it keeps the state’s longest win streak alive (19), dating back to last season.
New Palestine also owns the overall series 31-22-1.
The Dragons (4-0, 2-0 HHC), who came into Week 4 outscoring their opponents 191-28, scored 24 points in the opening half, led by starting quarterback Alex Neligh’s three touchdowns — two passing and one rushing.
It was his fifth straight 100/100 game, as the senior threw for 207 yards and rushed for 166 more. His six total touchdowns put him in first in school history for career scores. Receiver Duke Blackwell became the second all-time leading receiver in New Palestine school history with 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He is four shy of becoming the all-time leader in touchdown receptions.
The Dragons wasted little time getting on the board in the opening quarter. A seven-play, 68-yard drive ended with a Neligh rushing touchdown with 9:43 left on the clock.
New Palestine’s leading receiver this season, senior Logan Greene, caught an 8-yard pass from Neligh after the Marauders failed to convert a crucial fourth-and-11 from their own 21-yard line.
The result was a New Palestine 11-play, 78-yard drive that gave the Dragons a 14-0 lead with 3:50 left in the first quarter.
Mt. Vernon, which was effective with a old school-type run style, threatened to score in the opening seconds of the second quarter, but a big stop on fourth-and-1 on the Dragons’ 11-yard line halted all momentum.
Junior kicker Spencer Corey added a 38-yard field goal, and junior receiver Brett Luker added a score to give New Palestine a 24-0 halftime lead.
Marauders starting quarterback Jimmy Campbell rushed for 24 yards in the first half, and Jordan House added 25 yards on the ground.
After two quick scores from the Dragons to open the second half (Nick Brickens, Blackwell), Mt. Vernon found the end zone for the first time with a 1-yard touchdown run by sophomore Eric Jones on third-and-1 with 2:12 remaining in the third quarter (38-7).
New Palestine managed three more scores in the game, one by freshman Luke Ely, to seal the win.
Defensively, Brickens led the Dragons with an interception and a fumble recovery.
For Mt. Vernon, Campbell was 5 for 11 passing for 55 yards. Nathan Seifert led the rushing attack with 44 yards on eight carries.
New Palestine also held on to another piece of hardware. In addition to the Boundary Rail Trophy (interurban track that once ran along National Road), the Dragons claimed the HHC traveling Helmet Trophy, which has been in the their possession since 2013.
New Palestine returns to the place it won the 2014 state title, Lucas Oil Stadium, Saturday to face Pendleton Heights. Tickets can be purchased in the high school office. Mt. Vernon returns home and will host Delta. Both kickoffs are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.