Boys Varsity Football · Football falls in conference game

The New Palestine football team dropped a 35-22 decision Friday to conference rival Mt. Vernon.

The Dragons are now 2-1 on the season and 1-1 in HHC play.

Blake Austin scored three touchdowns for the Dragons, getting the team off to a great start by returning the opening kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown – the Dragons’ first kickoff return for a score since Colby Jenkins in 2017.

But the Dragons found themselves trailing 21-7 after three consecutive MV scores in the first half. Quarterback Lincoln Roth drew the Dragons within a touchdown with a 60-yard pass to Austin to make it a 21-14 game. NP drove the ball to the Marauders’ 25 on the first half’s final possession, but a turnover ended the threat.

MV pushed the lead to 28-14 on the first drive of the second half, one aided by two flags against the Dragons. NP answered, driving the ball to the MV 18, but stalling on downs. Richard Clevenger’s sack forced the Marauders to punt out of their own end zone. A high snap led to a safety, cutting the deficit to 28-16. The Dragons were unable to take advantage on the ensuing possession, going three-and-out. MV answered with a touchdown drive to go up 35-16. The Dragons answered with a 65-yard drive that ended in Roth’s 15-yard pass to Austin in the corner of the end zone to cut the deficit to 35-22. The two-point conversion was unsuccessful.

A fumble recovery by Clevenger helped give the Dragons the ball back in MV territory, but a turnover on a pass into the end zone ended the threat.

Roth threw for 124 yards in the game and a pair of touchdowns, both to Austin, who had five catches for 98 yards.

The Dragons completed the state’s second-longest regular season winning streak at 65, and the sixth-longest overall winning streak of the tournament era at 30.

The Dragons are back in action next week against Pendleton Heights.

Game boxscore
At Mt. Vernon Stadium, Fortville

New Palestine (2-1, 1-1)  7 – 7 – 2 – 6 — 22
Mt. Vernon (4-0, 2-0) 14 – 7 – 14 – 0 — 35
Scoring summary
NP-Austin 89 kickoff return (Tanksley kick), 11:47
MV-Koziol 22 pass from Slunaker (Swingle kick), 9:52
MV-Cole 10 pass from Slunaker (Swingle kick), :38
MV-Labelle 11 run (Swingle kick), 9:42
NP-Austin 60 pass from Roth (Tanksley kick), 8:06
MV-Slunaker 3 run (Swingle kick), 8:22
NP-Safety, MV punter stepped out of end zone, 4:22
MV-Koziol 6 pass from Slunaker (Swingle kick), :57
NP-Austin 15 pass from Roth (pass failed), 10:35

Team stats
First downs: NP 10, MV 16
Rushes-yards: NP 33-103, MV 40-93
Passing C-A-I: NP 9-24-4, MV 20-30-1
Passing yards: NP 124, MV 259
Total plays-yards: NP 57-227, MV 60-352
Fumbles-lost: NP 0-0, MV 5-2
Punts-average: NP 4-26.8, MV 2-34.5
Penalties-yards: NP 8-81, MV 6-55
Time of possession: NP 18:23, MV 29:37

Individual stats
New Palestine
Rushing: Roth 15-43, Da.Spegal 10-32, Thomas 6-14, Austin 2-14
Passing: Roth 9-24-4-124
Receiving: Austin 5-98, Byers 1-14, Hurst 1-5, M.Johnson 1-4, Ewers 1-3

Mt. Vernon
Rushing: Labelle 12-51, Slunaker 15-25, Cole 7-22, Gentry 2-1, team 4-(-6)
Passing: Slunaker 20-30-1-259
Receiving: Cole 6-87, Gentry 6-81, Koziol 5-72, Foster 2-16, Bridenthal 1-3