FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon has its long-awaited title shot.
Logan Justus’ 37-yard field goal with 11.9 seconds remaining in regulation lifted the Marauders to a 23-20 victory over Delta Friday night in Fortville.
MV (7-1, 4-1 Hoosier Heritage Conference), the defending HHC champion, can clinch a share of the conference crown with a win next week against visiting New Palestine. The Dragons (8-0, 5-0 HHC) blasted Greenfield-Central 51-7 Friday to garner a share of the HHC title.
Mt. Vernon and Delta (5-3, 2-3 HHC) combined for 13 points through three quarters, but lit up the scoreboard for 30 points in the final frame.
And despite recording their lowest point total of the season, the Marauders escaped with the chance to knock unbeaten NP off its perch Friday in the Boundary Rail Game.
“I told them before the game that the toughest team is going to win,” MV coach Doug Armstrong said. “We had to get through some tough moments, and I’m really proud of them.”
After three quarters of defense-oriented, ball-control football, madness ensued in the fourth quarter.
The hosts, clinging to a 7-6 lead, faced a 4th-and-3 on the Eagle 40-yard line and lined up in punt formation on the third play of the final stanza. Justus had pinned Delta inside its own 20 multiple times with well-placed boots, so conventional wisdom said the hosts were going to kick.
Only Lucas Rice snapped the ball to upback Alec Lohman, and Lohman rumbled 17 yards for a first down. Two plays later, Lohman out-sprinted an Eagle defender to the pylon for a 9-yard touchdown run. Justus’ point-after made the score 14-6 Mt. Vernon.
On the ensuing drive, Delta quarterback Colin McCaslin — who relieved starter Cade Jones in the second quarter after Jones had to leave with an apparent leg injury — converted a 4th-and-17 pass to Tate Stone from the MV 44.
McCaslin punched the ball in from three yards out, but the Eagles failed on the 2-point conversion, and were down 14-12 with seven minutes and five seconds left in the fourth.