FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon made sure the pendulum in its rivalry with Pendleton Heights remained firmly on its side Friday night.
The Marauders received a few unintended, but welcome, assists from the Arabians.
Aided by touchdowns on defense and special teams, MV ran off to a 28-0 halftime lead and got a much-needed Hoosier Heritage Conference victory in the school’s fall homecoming, 35-7.
Class 3A No. 13 Mt. Vernon (4-1, 1-1 HHC) remained in the conference title hunt, while the Arabians (2-3, 0-3 HHC) were dealt their third straight defeat both overall and at the Marauders’ hands.
MV again was methodical when it had the ball, with both Alec Lohman and Dan Werner passing the century mark and the team netting 395 yards — its entire offensive output — on the ground.
Lohman ran for 146 yards and two touchdowns, while Werner added 116 and Brayton Shannon 92, all but six coming in the second half.
But the Marauders were just as stellar on defense, with three takeaways including a pick-6, three sacks, a goal-line stand and allowing the traditionally potent Arabians less than 100 yards rushing and a modest 112 passing.
“It’s the best game our defense has played,” MV coach Doug Armstrong said. “(Linebacker) Alex Chambers had a phenomenal game and our D-line played outstanding. Pendleton can drop, they can pass, that’s what they good at, and for us to harass them into sacks and hurries, that was the key to the game.”
Less than a minute after Lohman put the Marauders two TDs ahead in the second quarter, Chambers stepped in front of a PH receiver to whom Jesse Furrow was throwing at the Arabians’ 22-yard line, nabbed the ball and took it in.
Up 35-0 midway through the third quarter, the Marauders didn’t relinquish their shutout very easily. MV shook off a 67-yard PH pass play from Furrow to Jim Arney and proceeded to stuff the Arabians on fourth-and-goal at the 1. PH would score later in the period.
“We played our best game as a team and we worked hard all week to get better on defense, and I think it really showed,” said lineman Lucas Rice, who had two sacks and a fumble recovery.
With the Mt. Vernon Stadium grass wet from pregame rain, both teams needed time to get going. But a major break turned the game toward the Marauders, and the Arabians wouldn’t recover.
PH punter Payton Huth saw a snap go well over his head, and as he tried to pick up the ball in the end zone and get rid of it he had it batted away and Jordon Reyes fell on it for MV’s first score.
Lohman also scored from four yards out in the third quarter, after Shannon punched it in from the 3-yard line with under three minutes to go in the first half.
“We have a lot of first-year starters and they should be progressing, and they are,” Armstrong said. “We have to keep pushing the accelerator, because we have huge games coming up that we want to win for our seniors.”
Notes: MV is 4-1 for the 11th time in 13 years (the 2004 team also started 5-0). ... The Marauders are 12-11 against PH over the last 20 years and Friday’s game was the first in that time frame in which they’ve held the Arabians to single digits. ... MV is at Shelbyville (4-1, 2-0 HHC) this Friday.