Football (Varsity) New Palestine High School

Dragons bring home Rail, Helmet with convincing victory

By Andrew Smith | Sep. 9, 2022 11:16 PM

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The motivation sat on the scoreboard all week for the New Palestine football team. For two years, two points of pride - the Boundary Rail and HHC's Helmet trophy - were missing from the Dragons' sideline on Friday nights. The score from last year's loss to Mt. Vernon flashed on the Kelso Stadium scoreboard every day at practice as a reminder for the Dragons as they prepared for this week's trip to Fortville. The Dragons were dominant from the opening kickoff - which Kyler Kropp returned 56 yards into Marauder territory, setting up the first of two Brendan Tanksley field goals on the opening two drives - and never let up in a 42-6 victory over the Marauders. The victory returned both the Helmet and Boundary Rail into the Dragons' hands for the first time since surrendering both in 2020. The 4A No. 1 Dragons improved to 4-0 and 2-0 in the HHC with their third victory over a ranked team this season. 4A No. 9 MV is now 1-3 (1-1). The Marauders' gameplan was to blitz the Dragons and try to limit the running game, but that opened up big plays in the passing game. Dragons senior quarterback Danny Tippit was 10-of-19 for 223 yards and three touchdowns, including two long TDs in the first quarter to help the Dragons race to a 20-0 lead. The Dragons then went on two touchdown drives in the second quarter to take a 35-0 edge into halftime and trigger a running clock for the second half. Despite running into a stacked box much of the night, junior running back Grayson Thomas ran for 165 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. In the process, he became the fifth player in Dragons history to rush for 3,000 career yards. he now has 3,031 yards, joining Charlie Spegal, Jeff Miles, Alex Neligh and Nick Roudebush as 3,000-yard rushers in Dragons history. The Dragons made things happen early on special teams. Kropp's long kickoff return set up a short drive that stalled in the red zone, but led to a 29-yard field goal by Tanksley. After the Red Rage forced a three-and-out, a fumbled snap on the punt led to Daniel Thacker's recovery. The drive again stalled, but Tanksley hit a 23-yard field goal to put the Dragons up 6-0 midway through the first. After forcing another MV punt, Eian Roudebush's pressure led to a six-yard boot. One play later, Tippit found Kropp wide open downfield for a 32-yard TD to push the edge to 13-0. Isaiah Thacker then took a screen pass, broke a tackle down the sideline and took it 45 yards for a score with 1:30 remaining in the first, putting the Dragons up 20-0. MV found its offense in the second quarter, but two drives stalled in the red zone. After the Marauders drove to the Dragons' 20, Daniel Thacker picked off a pass on the goal line, setting up a mammoth 12-play, 93-yard drive that brought the Dragons to midfield. They faced fourth-and-1 from the MV 46 when Thomas took a handoff, blasted through a hole, rolled over a MV defender - but never touched the ground - got up and took it to the end zone. A two-point conversion pass to Blaine Nunnally made it a 28-0 game. MV again drove deep into Dragon territory, with a fourth-down run to George Burhenn carrying 41 yards to the Dragons' 2. The Dragons stopped a run play at the one-foot line on first down. On the next play, Michael Thacker beat a blocker, found the running back and ripped the ball free. The Dragons recovered with 45 seconds left in the half. A tremendous two-minute drill followed, starting with a 12-yard run by Thomas. Two completions to Isaiah Thacker followed, bringing the Dragons out to their own 36. A run by Thomas and a penalty brought the Dragons to midfield with 24 seconds left. Tippit threw a dart to Nunnally for a 36-yard completion to the Marauders' 16. With 6.7 seconds left, the Dragons elected to take one shot to the end zone. Nunnally reeled in a fade pass to the corner in heavy coverage to put NP up 35-0 with one second left in the second quarter and trigger the running clock in the second half. In the second half, the Dragons again scored, a 68-yard drive capped by Thomas' 1-yard TD run, which came after forcing a punt. MV hit a long pass for a touchdown late in the third, but the Dragons were able to see out the victory. The Dragons gained 448 yards of total offense, including 223 through the air and 225 on the ground. MV was held to 197 yards of offense. The Dragons next play Sept. 16 at Pendleton Heights. Week 4: Dragons 42, Mt. Vernon 6 Friday, Sept. 9, 2022 at Mt. Vernon Stadium, Fortville New Palestine (4-0, 2-0). 20 - 15 - 7 - 0 -- 42 Mt. Vernon (1-3, 1-1) 0 - 0 - 6 - 0 -- 6 Scoring summary NP-Tanksley 29 FG, 8:30 NP-Tanksley 23 FG, 6:07 NP-Kropp 32 pass from Tippit (Tanksley kick), 4:16 NP-I.Thacker 45 pass from Tippit (Tanksley kick), 1:30 NP-Thomas 46 run (Bl.Nunnally pass from Tippit), 2:49 NP-Bl.Nunnally 16 pass from Tippit (Tanksley kick), :01 NP-Thomas 1 run (Tanksley kick), 3:30 MV-Jones 66 pass from Ertel (kick failed), :14 Team stats First downs: NP 19, MV 7 Rushes-yards: NP 33-224, MV 20-98 Passing C-A-I: NP 10-19-0, MV 6-16-1 Passing yards: NP 224, MV 99 Total plays-yards: NP 52-448, MV 36-197 Fumbles-lost: NP 0-0, MV 2-2 Penalties-yards: NP 5-45, MV 7-31 Punts-avg: NP 0-0, MV 3-27.0 Time of possession: NP 27:23, MV 20:37 Individual stats New Palestine Rushing: Thomas 23-166, Armstrong 3-45, Tippit 3-9, D.Thacker 2-6, Doss 1-(-1), team 1-(-1) Passing: Tippit 10-19-0-224 Receiving: I.Thacker 5-86, Kropp 3-86, Bl.Nunnally 2-52 Mt. Vernon Rushing: Martin 8-44, Burhenn 1-41, Brogan 4-10, Edmonds 1-4, Julian 1-2, Bridenthal 1-(-1), Ertel 4-(-2) Passing: Ertel 6-16-1-99 Receiving: Jones 3-75, Bridenthal 1-12, Etherington 1-7, Stewart 1-5

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