YORKTOWN — Eric Jones rushed for nearly 400 yards before scoring a touchdown this season. After six games, he finally found his way to the end zone in a Week 7 win over New Castle.
Mt. Vernon must have taken notice.
Jones, the team’s leading rusher, scored the Marauders first two touchdowns of the game Friday in a win against Yorktown. He added a 10-yard reception from junior quarterback Zac Montgomery and a 4-yard rush — both in the first quarter — as Class 4A No. 17 Mt. Vernon rolled to a 40-21 win.
The victory gives the Marauders (6-3, 6-1 Hoosier Heritage Conference) a second-place finish in conference play behind New Palestine. Mt. Vernon’s last loss came Sept. 9 to the Dragons. Friday’s win against the Tigers was the team’s fifth in a row.
“We made a goal to finish the season 5-0, and we just kept checking them off,” Marauders head coach Doug Armstrong said. “We have played really good defense but it wasn’t our best tonight. Offensively, we have kept improving.”
Jones, a senior, finished the game with 191 yards (27 carries) and five total touchdowns. He added scores of 31 and 37 yards in the second half as the Marauders took a commanding 33-14 lead near the end of the third quarter.
“When you have a running back who runs as hard as Eric does, he’s going to extend some plays,” Armstrong said. “Our line gave him some yards and Eric turned them into eight or nine yards. He’s a good, strong back.”
Montgomery was efficient in the passing game for the second straight week, going 12 of 16 for 165 yards. He threw four touchdowns last week in a win against then-No. 10 Shelbyville at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mt. Vernon used three first downs and a 4 of 4 passing effort from Montgomery on its first drive to take a 6-0 lead. Jones capped the quick drive with a 10-yard shovel pass from Montgomery with 7:58 remaining.
Jones added his second score of the game after another lengthy drive for the Marauders. After a 23-yard gain from Alex Barnett on a tipped pass, Jones walked into the end zone from four yards away, giving Mt. Vernon a 12-0 lead with 2:23 to play in the opening quarter.
After a 16-yard touchdown pass from Tigers’ (2-7, 1-6 HHC) senior Brogan Miller, Montgomery responded with a passing score of his own. He hit Barnett from 33 yards away with 9:59 remaining in the first half to give the Marauders a 19-7 advantage, which held until halftime.
Montgomery and Barnett will both visit Purdue University today. Barnett finished with three catches for 90 yards on Friday.
The Marauders totaled 10 first downs in the first half, while Yorktown punted the ball twice and had two turnovers on downs. However, Mt. Vernon just edged the Tigers in total offense in the opening half, 205-203.
Jones had 74 yards on 15 carries at the break.
Last season, the Marauders finished fourth (4-3) in the HHC. The 6-1 finish this season is the best for the Marauders since 2012 (7-0).
Mt. Vernon has never had a losing team in Armstrong’s six seasons at the helm. It’s worst finish under the head coach was in 2011 (5-5). He is 43-22 overall at the school.
The Marauders will open up sectional play Friday at Richmond. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.