For The Daily Reporter
FORTVILLE — Going into halftime Friday night, the Mt. Vernon Marauders could have been thinking that it was déjà vu all over again. Mt. Vernon took a 22-0 lead into halftime against Pendleton Heights, just one week after taking a thirteen-point lead into halftime in a loss to Delta. This time, however, they were able to complete the job, earning a 35-7 victory.
“This week we were able to make some specific adjustments to the stuff Pendleton really likes to run,” Mt. Vernon coach Doug Armstrong stated after the game. “We had better pursuit to the outside, which was the main difference.”
The main reason behind this week’s large lead was junior running back Nathan Seifert who had 124 yards rushing and a touchdown in the first half alone. Seifert would finish the game with 131 yards.
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“Nate’s a big strong talented kid,” Armstrong gushed afterwards. “We’ve been working on the stiff arm with him, and he’s hard to tackle when he uses those.”
Seifert was not a one-man show, however. Mt. Vernon’s misdirection running attack produced 30 and 27-yard touchdown runs for junior Matt McCarthy and sophomore Damari Gatewood, respectively.
To begin the second half, the Arabians ran 13 plays down to the Mt. Vernon 20-yard line while taking nearly 9 minutes off the clock. However, junior cornerback Josh Williams made sure last week would not repeat itself, as he jumped an out route, intercepted the pass, and ran it back 89 yards for a touchdown to put the Marauders up 28-0.
The Marauders shut out the Arabians for 47 of 48 minutes, as Pendleton scored for the only time with one minute remaining.
“Jackson Montgomery (senior nose tackle) is the leader of our defense, and the kids really rally around him,” Armstrong said afterwards.
Seifert may have carried the team with bruising runs in the first half, but it was Gatewood who shined in the second half. From a double Wing-T formation, Gatewood had a 69-yard touchdown run and was tackled by his shoestrings after 16 yards on the next drive. Gatewood finished with 110 yards.
“This was the first game Damari got consistent carries, and you know, he’s explosive,” said Armstrong.
The victory improves Mt. Vernon’s record to 3-3 overall and 2-2 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference. The Marauders can improve on both records next week as they travel to face the New Castle Trojans.