By Sam Sherman

The most important game of the the season for the Pendleton Heights Arabians came against the Mt. Vernon Marauders in an inner-conference battle for Pendleton Heights’ 2016 Homecoming. The Arabians came into the game with a (1-4) record on the season, the Marauders with a (2-3) record. Showing very similar traits, it was interesting to see which team would get the advantage in this heated rivalry.

Both teams knew that the biggest key to beating Pendleton Heights at John Broughton Field was to knock out the crazy Pendleton Heights student section and home crowd. The Mt. Vernon Marauders understood this very clearly as they began the game with an 85-yard touchdown pass to receiver Alex Barnett. The Marauders led 7-0 with 9 minutes left in the first quarter. As the Pendleton Heights offense failed to make any huge moves, the Marauder squad couldn’t capitalize either. Mt. Vernon led 7-0 at the end of the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter, the Pendleton Heights offense was forced to punt. After running a few yards, the Marauders fumbled the ball which was recovered by Pendleton Heights senior Matt Vetor at the Mt. Vernon 38-yard line. Pendleton Heights eventually pushed into the Mt. Vernon red zone, but penalties forced the Arabians to attempt a 38-yard field goal by junior Thomas Quiroga. Mt. Vernon led 7-3 in the second. Eventually, Mt. Vernon would score another touchdown on the Arabian defense. The Marauders led Pendleton Heights 14-3 at halftime.

The second half was relatively uneventful despite some scores. The Pendleton Heights crowd hadn’t lost much of its mojo despite the deficit for their Arabians. The third quarter was highlighted with offensive struggles for both teams and a slow pace. However, Mt. Vernon would score again and the Marauders led Pendleton Heights 21-3 at the end of the third quarter.

As the 2016 Pendleton Heights Homecoming game entered its final 12 minutes, the Arabians knew they had to pick up the pace on offense. However, the Mt. Vernon defense also knew that they would have to increase the toughness to match the Pendleton Heights intensity. With about 5 minutes left in the game, Pendleton Heights sophomore quarterback connected with senior Jordan Kirkpatrick for a 5-yard touchdown. The Arabians attempted a 2-point conversion, but failed. Pendleton Heights trailed 21-9. Next, the Arabians attempted an onside kick and hoped for a comeback. The kick was recovered by Mt. Vernon’s Alex Barnett and returned 50 yards for a touchdown. The Marauders crashed Pendleton Heights’ Homecoming game and beaten the Arabians 28-9.

The Pendleton Heights Arabians fall to (1-5) on the 2016 season, (0-4) in the Hoosier Heritage Conference. The Arabians continue to show the same traits they have all season. Good pass coverage, a strong running game, but struggles with tackling. As the Arabians travel to face another conference foe in the Delta Eagles, they will need to work to build up confidence before Sectionals.