Marauders and Dragons face off for Boundary Rail under the lights – The Daily Reporter

The Mt. Vernon football team celebrate their 35-22 victory over conference rival New Palestine on Friday, September 11, 2020 (Tom Russo | Daily Reporter)

HANCOCK COUNTY – Red or Black?

At night’s end, the coveted Boundary Rail will sport one of these two colors following the conclusion of the annual regular-season showdown between Hancock County rivals Mt. Vernon and New Palestine.

Often a tradition to paint the rail in the winner’s primary school color, last year marked the first time since 2012 that red has turned black.

Tonight at Kelso Stadium, Class 5A No. 15 host New Palestine Dragons will be keen to get revenge after the No. 10 Mt. Vernon Marauders 4A ended their seven-year domination of Boundary Rail in 2020.

Meanwhile, the 4A Greenfield-Central Cougars are heading to undefeated No.11 Pendleton Heights for their annual grudge match, which the host Arabs have won in the past six encounters.

The unranked 2A Eastern Hancock Royals look to shock the world at home tonight as they face their toughest challenge of the 2021 campaign against undefeated 2A No.4 Heritage Christian.

The only undefeated team in the county, Eastern Hancock enter Week 4 with a perfect 3-0 record and are ready to celebrate the homecoming in style.

Here’s a breakdown of every game coming in tonight.

Mt. Vernon (2-1, 1-0 HHC) at New Palestine (1-2, 1-0 HHC)

Game time: 7 p.m. at Kelso Stadium.

Coaches: Vince Lidy, 2-1 in freshman at Mt. Vernon. Kyle Ralph, 97-8 in ninth grade at New Palestine.

Last match: Mt. Vernon defeated Greenfield-Central, 42-21. New Palestine defeated Yorktown, 42-14.

Series Info: New Palestine has a 27-14 advantage over the past 35 years, but Mt. Vernon won the last game, 35-22, on September 11, 2020.

What we have learned: Nothing lasts forever, and the New Palestine Dragons learned that a year ago.

Winners of a seven-game Boundary Rail rivalry against their geographic neighbor Mt. Vernon, the Dragons have lost not only the inter-county award, but also the HHC Travel Helmet Trophy.

As an added measure, the loss turned out to be even greater as the Marauders trampled their HHC opponents underfoot to win the conference title, which New Palestine held for seven years (2013-19).

Without neglecting the rest of the HHC field, tonight’s rivalry game could ultimately determine the 2021 conference champion, which just adds to the focus.

Mt. Vernon enters tonight on a two-game winning streak after battling 6A Noblesville in Week 1.

Since the loss, the Marauders have forced two IHSAA Mercy Rule clocks into a pair of unbalanced wins.

Last week, against Greenfield-Central, the Marauders totaled 191 yards on the ground and three touchdowns, including two from Travon Hagler (108 yards) and one from Keagan La Belle (56 yards).

Quarterback Gehrig Slunaker had a trio of touchdowns for 130 yards while spreading the wealth. The caller connected with four different receivers and found three for TD.

The Dragons, on the other hand, racked up huge yardage totals to win their first game of the season against opponent HHC Yorktown.

New Palestine amassed a record 297 rushing yards with four touchdowns, while quarterback Damon Hockett had 154 yards and one score.

Second-year running back Grayson Thomas broke free for all four rushing touchdowns and totaled 207 rushing yards. He previously scored 132 and 158 yards in the Dragons’ two losses.

This game marks the 60th overall game between Mt. Vernon and New Palestine and the 54th regular season meeting. The two schools have faced each other since 1968, with New Palestine holding a 35-23-1 lead overall and a 31-21-1 record in regular season competitions.

In Boundary Rail games, the Dragons are 14-2 since the tradition began in 2005. Last year’s HHC loss was the only one for New Palestine in the past nine seasons and gives the Dragons a 55-1 conference record under head coach Kyle Ralph.

Greenfield-Central (1-2, 0-1 HHC) at Pendleton Heights (3-0, 1-0 HHC)

Game time: 7:30 p.m. at Broughton Field.

Coaches: Travis Nolting, 6-16 in third grade at Greenfield-Central, 66-44 in 11th grade overall. Jed Richman, 34-24 in 6th grade at Pendleton Heights, 69-54 in 12th grade overall.

Last match: Greenfield-Central lost to Mt. Vernon, 42-21. Pendleton Heights defeated New Castle, 30-26.

Series Info: Pendleton Heights has a 27-11 series advantage over the past 35 years and won the last game, 42-6, on October 23, 2020.

What we learned: The Greenfield-Central Cougars caught up all night against rival Mt. Vernon last week, but it’s not their fault.

Limited to a quarter-game in Week 2 against Phalen Academy, who forfeited during the game’s meteoric delay, the Cougars just didn’t get as many reps as they’d hoped for before their rivalry match. at Mt. Vernon.

With a week of preparation cut short, due to the postponement of the Mt. Vernon game to Saturday night, the Cougars will be looking to regroup quickly and play spoilers against host Pendleton Heights.

GC’s Brayden Herrell junior ran for 100 yards against the stingy defense of Mt. Vernon, and quarterback Brodie Mayberry ran hard for 86 yards. The optional offense will look to eat a bit of clockwork against the host Arabs, who have encountered minimal resistance this season.

Pendleton Heights is 3-0 with wins over 4A Mississinewa, 21-14, 5A Anderson, 21-14 and 4A New Castle, 30-26.

The Arabs’ main offensive weapon is senior Ethan Ross, who has 402 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Luke Candiano, a senior, has four touchdowns, 171 rushing yards and 363 passing yards with three touchdowns.

The Cougars defense will look to slow down Candiano and Ross to keep the game tight and tighten the HHC race.

Heritage Christian (3-0) at Eastern Hancock (3-0)

Game time: 7 p.m. at Knarr Field.

Coaches: Kyle Ray, 38-19 in sixth grade at Heritage Christian. Phil Morris, 3-0 in freshman at Eastern Hancock, 26-37 in seventh overall.

Last match: Heritage Christian beats Catholic Guérin, 18-15. Eastern Hancock defeated Wes-Del, 47-7.

Series Info: Heritage Christian has a 5-0 series advantage over the past 35 years and won the last game, 56-21, on September 11, 2020.

What we have learned: The Eastern Hancock Royals are never out of the game.

Over the past couple of weeks they’ve been following both North Decatur and Wes-Del and with every contest they’ve come back strong – literally.

Cole Rainbolt appears to be thriving despite the elements and that’s exactly what he did against Wes-Del with 96 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He had two receptions for 38 yards and added 57 punt return yards – and a touchdown – to finish with 203 all-purpose yards.

Zach Arnold had two touchdowns, one running and one receiving, to provide 143 versatile yards.

The Royals will need every inch they can get against state-ranked Heritage Christian.

The visiting Eagles can score both in the air and on the ground, led by junior quarterback Kyle Antoine.

Antoine completed 48 of 70 attempted passes for 649 yards and eight touchdowns thanks to HC’s perfect 3-0 start. He also ran for 189 yards and five touchdowns.

Senior Colton Brown has 186 rushing yards and one touchdown, while senior Zac Schloemer has 21 receptions for 248 yards and four touchdowns.

Expect a ton of offense in Charlottesville tonight.

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