For The Daily Reporter
FORTVILLE — It was a tale of two halves for the Mt. Vernon Marauders football team Friday night.
After a stellar first half, the Marauders (2-3, 1-2 Hoosier Heritage Conference) were unable to regain their momentum in the second and fell to the Delta Eagles 29-26 on Homecoming.
The Eagles (3-2, 2-1 HHC) bullied the Marauders off the ball in the second half and kept them out of sync.
“Their line and their linebackers were taking it to us, and we weren’t blocking well enough,” said Mt. Vernon head coach Doug Armstrong. “The basic fundamental of football is the team that blocks better usually wins.”
In the first half, the Marauders’ Juwann Nelson didn’t waste any time from the start jumping out with a 60-yard opening kickoff return.
Five plays later, quarterback Robbie Campbell popped out of a pile for a 6-yard score.
Campbell hustled his way into the end zone from 15 yards out and then powered from 1-yard for his other two first-half scores.
Delta would respond with a 14-play drive that melted seven minutes off the clock, but that would be all they could muster in the first half.
A stifling Marauder defense forced three Eagles turnovers in the second quarter and capitalized on two of them. Jackson Montgomery nearly had a 76-yard scoop and score but it was called back after a holding penalty.
Just three plays into the next Delta series sophomore Damari Gatewood picked off the Eagles’ Ryley Pease for excellent field position. Josh Williams forced the Eagles’ third turnover knocking the ball loose from a Delta receiver.
But the Eagles made all the necessary offensive adjustments at halftime to hammer the Marauders for two quick scores to take back the lead.
Coach Armstrong was disappointed in his team’s second-half performance against the Delta attack but credited the Eagles with being better up front.
“They just mowed us over,” Armstrong said. “They just got in there, were knocking us off the ball and getting five to six yards at a time.”
Occasionally those shorter gains turned into long plays due to missed tackles.
“Then they would break a tackle and it was 12 yards at a time,” he continued. “We just didn’t hold up very good on our defensive front eight.”
The Marauders will host the Pendleton Heights Arabians next Friday at 7:30 p.m. Mt. Vernon is 4-0 against the Arabians in the past three years.