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FB 4A REG. 7 preview: #5 Mt. Vernon (Fortville) vs. #3 Cathedral

November 9, 2012
Hancock County Sports

#4/5 Mt. Vernon (11-1) at #7/3 Cathedral (7-5)
Friday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m. at Arsenal Tech High School, Indianapolis
Broadcast: Hancock County Sports

Coaches: MV: Doug Armstrong (2nd year: 15-6. 12th overall: 67-62), C: Rick Streiff (18th year: 175-42; 24th overall, 198-85)
Mt. Vernon #4 in Class 4A, Cathedral #1. Cathedral listed as 12.5-point favorite.
Best wins: MV 58-26 & 54-34 over Pendleton Heights (Week 5 & Week 10), 35-0 & 28-13 over Delta (Week 8 & Week 11). Cathedral 14-7 over Warren Central (Week 2), 34-7 over Roncalli (Week 12).
Conference: MV: Hoosier Heritage (7-0, 1st). Cathedral: Independent
Common opponents:
Record vs. 4A teams: MV 9-0, Cathedral 4-0.
Outlook: For those of us who have been following the Marauders all season, this game has been anticipated for quite some time. MV has steamrolled its way to the regional -- with only an overtime loss to Kokomo standing in the way. The Marauders have only trailed for a handful of minutes this entire season -- three plays in OT against Kokomo and a couple of snaps in the sectional opener agianst New Palestine. Delta coach Grant Zgunda -- who should know, given some of the teams he's been around -- called the Marauders one of the best HHC teams he'd ever seen. This game is also a matchup of two coaching friends -- MV's Doug Armstrong and Cathedral's Rick Streiff once coached on the same staff at Cathedral.

The Marauders have run the table in the HHC for the first time since 2003, won a sectional for the first time since 2006, and were largely untouched en route to both. Coach Armstrong's team has a mammoth offensive line, two backs that have eclipsed the 1,500 yard mark this season, and a stingy defense. The Marauders lead Class 4A in scoring. Tyler Dicks (1681 yards, 22 TDs) has had a tremendous tournament, rushing for 199, 287 and 149 yards in the three games. He had a 73-yard TD reception last week. Anthony Burnett has 1,553 yards and 24 TDs. He had 168 yards and two TDs against Pendleton Heights, and 125 yards, a TD and a big all-around game agianst Delta. Fullback Andy Spears collects touchdowns at a rapid rate -- one every four carries, 20 in all, including eight in the three tourney games. Mt. Vernon's defense has been better than the points against stats might indicate -- only twice since Week 2 -- the sectional games against New Palestine & Delta -- had the Marauders' varsity defense allowd more than one score. MV, which won its fifth HHC title this year (matching ones won in 1997, 1999, 2001 and 2003) and its fourth sectional (1997, 1999, 2006, 2012) is looking for its first regional title. Coach Armstrong is looking for his third title as a head coach, as he led New Palestine to the 2004 and 2005 sectional championships. The Marauders are 2-0 on FieldTurf this season, having outscored their two foes 90-12 on the artificial surface. Tech has FieldTurf.

Postseason success is nothing new to the Irish. They have won seven straight sectionals, six straight regionals and two straight Class 4A state titles. The Irish have won nine state titles overall, four since 2006. Because of that, if Cathedral wins this game, it will automatically bump up to Class 5A next year as a result of the IHSAA's new "success factor." Don't be deceived by Cathedral's record -- the Irish have played the 15th-toughest schedule in the state, according to Jeff Sagarin's computer rankings. They've played 5A stalwarts Warren Central and Ben Davis -- beating WC -- as well as regional powers Cincinnati St. Xavier and Moeller, Louisville Trinity and Sacred Heart-Griffin of Illinois. Cathedral has two losses to Indiana teams -- to 3A No. 1 Chatard and to Ben Davis, which spent much of the year as No. 1 in 5A. The Irish have been impressive in the tourney -- none moreso than in last week's 34-7 victory over Roncalli, in which they rolled up a three-score lead in the first quarter. Terry McLaurin's punt return for a TD set the ball rolling, but the Irish have veteran running back Gino Gillum to carry a lot of the load. Cathedral has outscored its tourney foes 153-26.

Semistate hosts: MV would host either Evansville Reitz or Columbus East. Cathedral would host Reitz, but travel to Columbus East.

The Class 4A bracket
Hammond Morton (7-5) at Mishawaka (9-3), 7:30 p.m. Friday
Concord (10-2) at Ft. Wayne Dwenger (6-6), 7:30 p.m. Friday
#4/5 Mt. Vernon (11-1) at #7/3 Cathedral (7-5), 7 p.m. Friday
#1/1 Columbus East (12-0) at Evansville Reitz (9-3), 6 p.m. Saturday

Mt. Vernon (11-1/7-0 HHC)
8/17 KOKOMO otL 21-28
8/24 at Marion W 42-22
8/31 at Yorktown W 52-14
9/8 vs. Rushville (at LOS) W 55-14
9/14 at Pendleton Hts. W 58-26
9/29 GREENFIELD-C. W 54-13
10/5 at Delta W 35-0
10/12 at New Palestine W 48-13
10/19 at New Palestine W 40-21
10/26 PENDLETON HTS. W 54-34
11/2 DELTA W 28-13

Cathedral (7-5)
8/17 at Ben Davis L 21-24
8/25 at Warren Central W 14-7
9/8 at Chatard L 7-21
9/21 at Louisville (Ky) Trinity L 16-24
9/28 at Sacred Heart-Griffin (Ill) W 40-17
10/5 at Tech W 42-14
10/19 NORTHVIEW W 62-0
10/26 at Lebanon W 49-19
11/2 RONCALLI W 34-7

Tags Hancock County Sports • Publisher
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