For The Daily Reporter
NEW CASTLE — All three phases of Mt. Vernon’s game were clicking Friday night. Despite wind gusts of nearly 40 mph and a steady second-half rain, the Marauders defeated the New Castle Trojans 36-13 in the Hoosier Heritage Conference matchup.
On New Castle’s first drive, the Trojans converted two fourth downs and got the ball down to the Mt. Vernon 20-yard line. The Marauders stuffed the third fourth-down attempt, and New Castle would not get any closer to the end zone for the rest of the first three quarters.
New Castle’s only points of the game came in the fourth quarter after Mt. Vernon already had a 36-0 lead.
“On New Castle’s first drive, they emptied out their playbook,” Mt. Vernon assistant coach Jim Leisure said after the game. “But after that we were really able to key in on their formations and predict what they would run.”
Mt. Vernon’s first offensive possession was a sign of what was to come for the rest of the night, as they ran the ball thirteen straight times. Sophomore running back Damari Gatewood had 40 yards on the drive and finished it with a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Marauders a 7-0 lead. Gatewood would finish the game with 74 yards on the ground.
“We have a lot of bruisers on the team,” Leisure said. “That’s why we really love Gatewood for our wing formation; he is at full speed by his second step, and we don’t have anyone else like that.”
Mt. Vernon would take a 14-0 lead on a 35-yard touchdown pass to junior flanker Mitch McCarthy from senior quarterback Jimmy Campbell on a fourth-and-14 play.
The Marauders put the game away in the third quarter, starting with a 65-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by junior Alex Barnett. And, after riding Gatewood in the first half, Mt. Vernon turned to Nathan Seifert, who had 22 carries for 144 yards and one touchdown in the game.
To complete the third quarter domination, sophomore Eric Jones scored on a 25-yard touchdown run.
With the win, Mt. Vernon improves to 3-2 in HHC play and travels to Shelbyville next week.
“Our only chance at a conference championship is to win next week,” Leisure said afterwards.