FORTVILLE — Kraig Hancock saved the game for Mt. Vernon on Friday night.
The Class 4A Yorktown Tigers had one chance left against the Class 4A Mt. Vernon Marauders in their last Hoosier Heritage Conference matchup of the season. And they almost scored on that one chance.
The Tigers’ Brandt Applegate – their quarterback, kicker and punt returner, at least for this play – caught Marauder Trevor Bond’s punt as time ran out.
He sprinted past a few Marauder tacklers, then slipped past the main line and looked like he might give Yorktown the touchdown they needed to win. However, Hancock came from behind at the 20-yard line and saved the Marauders from dropping their fourth game in a row.
Mt. Vernon heads into sectional play 3-6, 2-5 in the HHC after a 10-6 victory.
“We got to get better at finishing that up,” Mt. Vernon head coach Neil Kazmierczak said. “That was not what we should have been doing. The kneel down should have been better.”
The Marauders got the ball at their 23-yard line with 2:55 to go. Two key receptions to Braxton Trittipo – who had key receptions all night – marched the Marauders down the field and got them the first downs they needed.
After an Eric Jones run, Mt. Vernon had three downs to rundown the clock. After a kneel, a Yorktown sack – almost fumble – the Marauders had about five seconds for the punt play.
Applegate had plans. Hancock had plans, too.
“He is a guy that plays with a lot of effort and I’m glad because we really needed it on that play,” Kazmierczak said.
The game was a close defensive battle from the get go. Mt. Vernon had a few big breaks that were stifled but just enough that weren’t.
“I was disappointed we didn’t finish some of those drives,” Kazmierczak said. “We had a lot of drives that we shoulda, woulda, coulda had a lot more points but at least we moved the ball well.”
Both teams went four-and-out to start the game then Harley and Trittipo started making connections.
Trittipo finished with 10 receptions for 194 yards on the night.
A 44-yard pass to Trittipo set up the Marauders at the 4-yard line at the start of the second quarter.
Then they fumbled. In the next drive, Yorktown had two third downs that were converted from offsides calls against Mt. Vernon.
More forced punts were followed by a drive that a few Trittipo big breaks were finally enough to put Mt. Vernon on the board. Trittipo followed a 13-yard reception with a big 47-yard play that set Harley up to run it in. The very next drive, two more big Trittipo passes weren’t enough as the Marauders had a big penalty and sack to thwart their efforts.
Yorktown found a score on the drive after that as Jordan Spangler ran a sweep pass for 91 yards. A failed kick attempt made the score 7-6.
The second half went in similar fashion with a few more odd plays mixed in. Yorktown found more of their running niche while Trittipo continued to keep the Marauder offense moving.
“He’s been playing awesome all year,” Kazmierczak said. “He was our biggest offensive weapon out there today.”
The first Marauder drive in the fourth quarter ended with a Bond 24-yard field goal while Yorktown couldn’t get past the Marauder defense in the entire second half.
“We did a really good job all night defensively except for that one play,” Kazmierczak said. “You got to give them credit. They play really hard and scrappy – especially playing without their quarterback. That was our best defensive game of the year. It’s good to be playing the best game at the end of the year.”
The Marauders head into their sectional game against Shelbyville on Friday at home. They lost to Shelbyville in a one-score game just one week ago.
“We want to play with that same intensity and physicality as we did today and clean up some of the little mistakes,” Kazmierzcak said.