INDIANAPOLIS — To end the season where it started, Mt. Vernon will need to improve its play in the coming weeks.

In the football season opener at Lucas Oil Stadium, the site for the IHSAA Football State Finals, the Class 4A Marauders lost 48-30 to Class 6A Noblesville in the second game of Friday’s 2023 Indianapolis Colts Horseshoe Classic.

“The first half was really unacceptable on the level that we expect to play,” Mt. Vernon head coach Vince Lidy said. “I don’t care what venue we’re at, playing a 6A school or 5A or whatever, we should have been in the mix at halftime.

“They made the big plays and we did not prevent the big plays, or create enough big plays on our offense. End of day, we have to outscore them and get them out of their power, full-house offense.”

Mt. Vernon took an 8-7 lead late in the first quarter.

On fourth-and-15 from the Millers 30, sophomore quarterback Luke Ertel connected with Gavin Joy for a touchdown. Ertel and Gabe Grinyer hooked up for the 2-point conversion and 8-7 Marauders lead.

It was the last lead the Marauders would see. Noblesville outscored Mt. Vernon 20-0 in the second quarter and added the first score of the second half for a 35-8 advantage.

On his second touchdown run of the night, Gabe Bellan scored from three yards out to give Noblesville a 13-8 lead with 10:18 left until halftime.

The Marauders were right in it late in the period, but the Millers hit on a pair of big plays to open up a three-score lead by halftime.

Jacob Baker connected with a wide-open Aiden Brewer for a 44-yard score with 3:32 until halftime.

And, with less than a minute remaining until halftime, Baker found running back Logan Shoffner for a 70-yard score.

“Those big plays, and they’ve got good players, it looks like we’re not covering guys,” Lidy said. “Defensively we gave up big plays and it has nothing to do with what we see in practice, the game plan. We knew what we were going to get (from Noblesville’s offense).”

Shoffner had two more long touchdowns in the fourth quarter on runs of 71 and 62 yards.

Lidy said he saw better play from his Marauders in the second half.

Ertel threw touchdown passes to both Tre Jones (4-yarder) and Domanic Barnett (1-yarder). He also converted a pair of 2-point conversions on pass plays to Chris Edmonds and Tyler Etherington.

Jones had the final Mt. Vernon touchdown on a 3-yard reverse with 4:31 left in the game.

“The second half was a lot better,” Lidy said. “The first half was unacceptable for what we expect, too many dropped balls. The first quarter we lost the physicality battle on both sides of the ball. The disappointing thing was we were unable to run the football into a light box. We expect to run the ball. When we have even numbers we expect to run the ball.

“You have to give some credit to Noblesville. The second half we got some things rolling but we still didn’t start like we should have.”

Lidy also commended the effort plays from defensive backs DJ Johnson and Jaden Gibson, as well as the performance of the sophomore QB Ertel.

Mt. Vernon is back in action Friday hosting Class 5A Franklin.

“The guys that played a lot last year, they did a pretty good job,” Lidy added. “The guys that didn’t play much got to step up. We’ll start back at it Monday (preparing for Franklin).”

Noblesville 48, Mt. Vernon 30

Noblesville (1-0);7;21;7;13;-;48

Mt. Vernon (0-1);8;0;8;14;-;30

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

N – Gabe Bellan 22 run (Jack Letourneau kick) 6:48

MV – Gavin Joy 30 pass from Luke Ertel (Gabe Grinyer pass from Ertel) 1:44

2nd Quarter

N – Bellan 3 run (run failed), 10:18

N – Aiden Brewer 44 pass from Jacob Baker (Letourneau kick) 3:32

N – Logan Shoffner 70 pass from Baker (Bellan run) :48

3rd Quarter

N – Bryce Englert 1 run (Letourneau kick), 4:26

MV – Tre Jones 4 pass from Ertel (Chris Edmonds pass from Ertel) :48

4th Quarter

N – Shoffner 71 run (kick blocked), 11:49

MV – Domanic Barnett 1 pass from Ertel (run failed) 8:49

N – Shoffner 62 run (Letourneau kick) 7:54

MV – Jones 3 run (Tyler Etherington pass from Ertel) 4:31