Dragons blank MV to clinch perfect regular season
October 19, 2013By Andrew Smith of New Palestine High School
The New Palestine football team clinched a perfect regular season with a 20-0 victory over Mt. Vernon Friday night.
It's the second unbeaten regular season for the Dragons in three years, and the fifth in school history -- joining 1983, 1984, 1988 and 2011. It also clinched an outright Hoosier Heritage Conference title for the Dragons, who have now also won five HHC titles in their history (2005, 2006, 2010, 2011, 2013).
The Dragons also won the Boundary Rail trophy for the eighth time in nine years and maintained possession of the HHC Helmet trophy for the offseason.
The Dragons got going quickly. After a turnover on their first possession, the defense forced MV to turn the ball over on downs, and NP engineered a quick drive that ended with Blake Luker's 20-yard TD pass to Nolan Guedel.
The kickoff team set the Dragons up with tremendous field position after recovering a fumble, but the drive stalled at the 11-yard line and the Dragons were unable to convert on a 29-yard field goal attempt. On the ensuing possession, the Dragons made it 12-0 with a long 15-play drive that saw the Dragons convert three third downs -- including a 26-yard scramble by Luker on 3rd-and-11. He later hit Guedel on a 27-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline after the Dragons had faced second-and-25. The PAT was blocked, but NP led 12-0 early in the second.
Tyler Walden's 53-yard punt return gave NP another short field, but the MV defense held and the game went into halftime 12-0.
NP made it a 20-0 game on its first drive of the second half, a quick strike that was capped when Luker hit Duke Blackwell on a seven-yard TD pass, and ran in the two-point conversion himself.
Luker was 12-of-19 for 153 yards and three TDs. He also ran for a team-high 92 yards. Nick Brickens ran for 58 yards. NP gained 354 yards of offense -- 201 on the ground and 153 through the air.
The Dragon defense was stifling, holding MV to 43 first-half yards and 122 overall -- including just 48 on the ground. Sterling Curran and Noah Grable had two quarterback sacks each. Grable also forced and recovered a fumble to stop MV's best drive of the game. The Marauders never ran a play inside the NP 15.
The second-ranked Dragons (9-0) open sectional play next week at Pendleton Heights (4-5). No. 7 MV finishes the regular season 7-2 and 4-2 in HHC play.