INDIANAPOLIS — Mt. Vernon joined an ever-growing list of postseason and Hoosier Heritage Conference victims of the Indianapolis Cathedral football machine Friday.
4A No. 7 Cathedral rolled to a 41-7 win over the No. 4 Marauders at Arsenal Tech High School, claiming the program’s seventh straight regional title and snapping MV’s 11-game win streak.
The two-time defending state champion Irish scored 34 straight points following a 7-7 tie to win going away.
Cathedral (8-5) has triumphed in 16 straight postseason games, and its last four regional title wins were against HHC opponents MV, Pendleton Heights (twice) and New Palestine by an average score of 44-9.
There was virtually no tougher Indiana 4A opponent the previously red-hot Marauders could have faced in the regional, MV coach Doug Armstrong acknowledged.
“We may be the second best team in the state, I don’t know,” Armstrong said. “But, that’s who our regional opponent is, and they’re solid in all phases and they’re well-coached.”
Mt. Vernon (11-2) entered the contest as the second-highest scoring squad in 4A, averaging 41.2 points, and it appeared briefly that Friday’s regional contest would turn into a shootout.
Cathedral, which has more wins (671) in program history than any other team in Indiana, scored on its first possession as Gino Gillum capped as 12-play drive with a five-yard run to give the host team a 7-0 lead with three minutes, 57 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Marauders needed only four plays to answer, with Tyler Dicks busting loose on a 41-yard touchdown scamper to make it a 7-7 game with 2:38 left in the opening quarter.
Following back-to-back fumbles by both teams, Cathedral answered with a 38-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Connor Rice to Terry McLaurin with 1:07 remaining in the first quarter for a 14-7 Irish lead.
This time, Mt. Vernon was unable to respond and the Marauders, looking for their first-ever regional title, went into halftime down 21-7. Cathedral scored on its first three possessions of the second half.
“They controlled the ball for the most part,” Armstrong said. “I thought we moved the ball pretty well, especially early. We didn’t have it enough. And we knew it was going to be a ball possession game, we just couldn’t get stops on third down when we needed it.
“Then they were able to get a couple passes to get that halftime lead.”
Rice finished 9-of-11 for 163 yards with two touchdowns, both to McLaurin, and no interceptions to pace the Irish balanced attack.
Rice also rushed for 76 yards and a score, while Gillum gained 146 yards on 23 carries with two touchdowns.
McLaurin added an 89-yard punt return late in the third quarter to make it a 35-7 game.
Cathedral advanced to the semistate to face the winner of Columbus East (12-0)-Evansville Reitz (9-3), who will meet today in Evansville. This will mark Cathedral’s last 4A semistate, or 4A tourney game of any kind, for at least two years. Per the IHSAA’s new tradition factor, Cathedral’s regional title Friday meant that the Irish will compete in 5A for at least two years beginning next season.
The Marauders, led by Dicks, Anthony Burnett and Andy Spears, were averaging 370 yards on the ground entering the regional, and the trio was held to 200 yards on 50 carries Friday, with Dicks (151 yards) having the most effective outing. Save for Dicks’ 41-yard touchdown run, the Marauders gained just 3.2 yards a carry.
Cathedral finished with 264 yards on the ground on 43 carries (6.1 yards per attempt).
“Our run defense was good enough if we could have controlled their passing game,” Armstrong said. “But we cannot give up that many points to a good team and win.”
The defeat marked the final high school appearance for MV’s 14-deep senior class, which includes Dicks, Burnett and Spears, as well as quarterback Jordan Miller and lineman Brandon Lindman, who recovered the lone Cathedral fumble of the evening.
Junior backup quarterback Mitch Walrod finished out the last series.
“Our seniors have set a great example,” Armstrong said. “We have a good group returning, but they have to follow the lead and follow the example that’s been set by just a great group of hard working seniors.
“I’m proud of so much about this group … attitude, effort, commitment. That’s why we won. If I had to pick one thing, I would say our unselfishness is what I’m most proud of; how they played for each other.”
Indianapolis Cathedral 41, Mt. Vernon 7
MV (11-2) 7 0 0 0 — 7
IC (8-5) 14 7 14 6 — 41
IC — Gillum, 5-yard run (Gerbers kick), 3:57.
MV— Dicks, 41-yard run (Justus kick), 2:38.
IC — McLaurin, 38-yard pass from Rice (Gerbers kick), 1:07.
IC — McLaurin, 28-yard pass from Rice (Gerbers kick), 2:56.
IC — Gillum, 1-yard run (Gerbers kick), 7:19.
IC — McLaurin, 89-yard punt return (Gerbers kick), 4:21.
IC — Rice, 1-yard run (kick failed), 8:01.
First downs 10 22
Rushes-yards 50-200 43-264
Passing yards 23 163
Comp-Att-Int 2-6-0 9-11-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 1-1
Penalties-Yards 2-20 3-41
Rushing: Burnett 17-30, Dicks 27-151, Spears 6-19 (MV); Rice 14-76, Gillum 23-146, McLaurin 3-32, Gomez 3-10 (IC).
Passing: Miller 2-5-23, Walrod 0-0-0, Burnett 0-1-0 (MV); Rice 9-11-163, Barthel 0-0-0 (IC).
Receiving: Burnett 1-(-3), Werner 1-26 (MV); Levingston 3-66, Gillum 1-5, McLaurin 3-32, Lenahan 1-9, Wood 1-11 (IC).