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Year-end football report: Mt. Vernon

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+/- FROM 2011: +6 wins



WHAT WENT RIGHT: Darn near everything. Save for a season-opening overtime loss to Kokomo, the Marauders ran through and over their opponents until meeting state powerhouse Cathedral in the regional.

Behind running backs Tyler Dicks (1,852 yards) and Anthony Burnett (1,580) and fullback Andy Spears (504), the Marauders averaged 41.2 points, second best in Class 4A.

On defense, linebackers Spears and Cody Baker and lineman Lucas Rice led a unit that, at one point, went four straight games without allowing an offensive touchdown, not including in the fourth quarter of blowouts.

“As a 50-year-old coach, it was pretty special to see,” MV coach Doug Armstrong said. “They all blocked for each other. They all played for each other. The unselfishness was something special.”

WHAT WENT WRONG: The two-time defending state champion Irish kept Mt. Vernon from its first-ever regional title.

Beyond that, overall program depth is an issue. In 2011, Mt. Vernon had 67 players. This year, there were 54 Marauders on the roster at season’s end.

MV did not have enough ninth-graders to field a freshman team.

“Our biggest problem right now is numbers,” MV coach Doug Armstrong said. “Our numbers will probably be low again next year, but we’ll have a really solid 15-member senior class that will hopefully be able to lead us in the same way this year’s group did.”

2013: With 162 yards this season on 20 carries, Alec Lohman will be the top returning running back next fall for the Marauders, and he’ll “absolutely” be the team’s primary rusher, according to Armstrong.

“He will be our No. 1 running back coming into next season,” the coach said. “He’s a kid that will be in the weight room, never misses a work out. He’s got really good feet. Doesn’t have the strength right now that Anthony and Tyler have, but he’s a very capable back.”

Armstrong also mentioned that sophomore Brayton Shannon had a strong JV season and could be in the running back mix next season, along with a few promising current freshmen.

At quarterback, junior Mitch Walrod, backup to Jordan Miller this year, will open practice in 2013 as the Marauders’ starter, Armstrong said. 

Exactly what kind of offense Walrod and Lohman will be leading is to be determined. The Marauders used a modified wing-T attack this year, and Dicks, Burnett and Spears ran wild.

“We specifically put together that offense for our three-headed monster,” Armstrong said with a laugh. “We thought it would be best for the team, and it worked out well because they’re talented people.

“As coaches, we’ll sit down and talk about what adjustments we want to make to it.”

OF NOTE: If the Marauders manage to win back-to-back sectional titles, they will not face Indianapolis Cathedral in 2013 regional. The Irish will compete in Class 5A next season, per the IHSAA’s new tradition factor, which elevates programs one class if they accumulate six points over a two year period. Teams earn four points for a state title; three points for a semistate; two points for winning a regional; and one point for a sectional. ... The Marauders will replace HHC-fleeing Rushville in 2013 with Muncie South, in Week 4. The 4A Rebels went 6-3 this season, ending with a 41-21 sectional loss to Pendleton Heights.

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