FORTVILLE — Mt. Vernon’s defense did a relatively effective job against Class 4A No. 2-ranked New Palestine’s vaunted attack Friday in the regular season finale.
Unfortunately for the Marauders, New Palestine’s defense was even better.
The Dragons shut out 4A No. 7 Mt. Vernon 20-0 to wrap up a perfect regular season, sole possession of the Hoosier Heritage Conference title and the return of the Boundary Rail to southern Hancock County.
“Their defense outplayed us today,” MV coach Doug Armstrong summed up following the game, which marked the Marauders’ first offensive blanking in two years (also against New Palestine).
MV (7-2, 4-2 HHC) was averaging 41.6 points per game entering the night, but their modified Wing-T rushing attack netted less than two yards per carry — 67 yards on 39 attempts.
The defending HHC champ Marauders had three first downs in the first half, and two of those were courtesy of New Palestine penalties on MV fourth downs. The Dragons (9-0, 6-0 HHC) also lost a fumble on their first possession of the game — and another in the fourth quarter — but Mt. Vernon could not mount any prolonged drives against the Red Rage.
“I don’t really want to say these things but I have to: I think we’ve got the best defense this state has to offer — in any division,” NP coach Kyle Ralph said. “They just refuse to be beaten by anybody. I challenge them each week with something different and something bigger and they rise to the occasion. It’s incredible how well they’re playing right now.
“If we keep playing defense like this we’re going to have a pretty good shot this year I think.”