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The Gridiron Digest


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  1. Proud of our boys and their playoff run. Great experience for our community, can't wait to do it again. Mt Vernon had some crazy speed for sure.
  2. Northridge and Mt. Vernon set for biggest game in each program’s history Dalton Tinklenberg - November 23, 2021 From the Daily 43 article here. The final week of the Indiana high school football season is upon us at last and the Northridge Raiders will be competing with the Mt. Vernon Marauders for a state title. This state title game is incredibly unique in the fact that neither school has ever won a state title in football and both head coaches are in their first year at their respective schools. We were able to speak with both coaches this week in preparation for the matchup. “These kids had a goal at the beginning of the year that started with our saying, ‘Why not us?’ These kids have bought into that saying, and have truly believed in us as coaches and themselves as players,” said Northridge head coach Chad Eppley in regards to his squad before last week’s game. Mt. Vernon’s Vince Lidy had a similar attitude towards being a first-year head coach in such an incredible position. “As I have prepared, I am treating this like every other game this season,” said Lidy. “The magnitude of the game won’t change until the football is raised by the official at the conclusion of the game as to who is the 4A state champion. There are lots of moving parts going on this week as we prepare for Saturday that have not happened all year, so it adds more to weekly and daily planning.” “It’s game 15 for us, so we are not going to go out and change our approach or what we do in hopes of tricking or doing something wild and crazy,” continued Lidy. “Each week we have focused on playing at a high level, correcting mistakes after the game, and then working towards our next opponent. Since there is no next week, everything we have done during the season comes down to Saturday and all of our chips are on the table as we will do whatever it takes for Mt. Vernon to bring back its first football and male state championship to Mt. Vernon High School!” Northridge defense As for how these two talented teams match up with one another, this game could prove to be another incredible one. The Raiders boast an impressively physical defense and have developed a reputation for shutting opponents down in recent weeks. “Northridge’s defense has been playing at a high level during their tournament run,” said Lidy. “The defensive front seven is physical and has done a great job of stopping the run. This is very impressive since they have faced some very ground-oriented teams who want to run the football. The defensive backs have done a good job of defending the pass by keeping everything inside and in front of them. The Northridge defense does a good job of not giving up the big play. On our end, we have to find some way to move the ball on the ground to establish the presence of a run game. Our offensive line has to step big this Saturday and match the physicality and intensity of the Raiders front seven on run and pass blocking for us to have early success in the game. We will continue to focus on our pass game as well in hopes of getting the ball in space to some of our wide receivers and having their speed continue to be an impact for our offensive game plan.” Mt. Vernon offense Mt. Vernon has won many of its games by simply burying opponents offensively. Despite allowing 21 points per game, the Marauders have won nearly all of their game by double digits, surpassing 60 points twice and 70 once. The Marauders are led by senior quarterback Gehrig Slunaker who has been phenomenal this season. Slunaker has thrown for 2,793 yards and 31 touchdowns with just three interceptions. On the ground, senior Keagan LaBelle does the majority of the damage for Mt. Vernon. LaBelle has rushed for 1,518 yards and 24 touchdowns on the year. “We celebrated until 9:30 am on Saturday morning when we switched our film from the New Prairie game to the Mt. Vernon game. It is just like we do every week. We have film on them like normal,” said Eppley. “It has actually been nice this week because we are going against a pretty normal offense for us. We match up well against these guys. We are picking up the intensity this week in preparation for this game.” “This week the points of emphasis are to continue to focus and prepare like we have done each and every week,” said Lidy. “We begin the week 0-0 and game day is our test day. I have also told them to enjoy the week of other activities that are going on around our practice and preparation. It’s a crazy week, with the state finals and school being out on break for a few days. We can’t control all the things going on, but I told them to enjoy the food, celebrations and times together this week in our quest for the 4A state title.” “In regards to how we are preparing for football this week, I keep preaching play fast and aggressive in all phases,” continued Lidy. “We have to be physical, tough, and can’t flinch. Like I have said each of the last few weeks, we have to answer the bell every time on Saturday. Both teams will come out with high energy and emotion and we have to weather the start of the game. Things may or may not go our way, and we can’t let those initial plays dictate the outcome of the 4 quarter game. We are preparing for a great game that will be played by two tough and physical teams for the 4A state title.” Northridge secret weapon While Northridge relies on junior Tagg Gott to keep the offense humming, the Raiders have shown the capability of mixing things up. In their semi-state game last week, Eppley and the Raiders used Trent Jensen, a lineman, to score on a one-yard run. “We went into the game knowing that we wanted to get the big man a touchdown,” said Eppley. “Our offense has had that play in the past few weeks and the opportunity presented itself to give him the ball so that’s exactly what we did. We will play it by ear if Jensen will see more carries or not.” The importance of this game cannot be understated for both teams and communities. It could easily be the biggest game in program history for both teams. “I think it definitely is,” said Eppley. “This is the first time in school history that we have made it to a state championship game for football. It means so much for our team and our community. The community support we have had has been amazing.” The Raiders and Marauders will meet at Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday at 3:30 pm.
  3. I agree 100% That being said, it's the dark gray/ black and white Jordan jerseys for state I'm told. The seniors voted on and chose the freshman jerseys (older style black and green) for our regional final, and have worn the all green, Jordan's, and all whites throughout the playoffs. All I know is the fans will be decked out in green and gold while Mt Vernon fans will be wearing black.
  4. I know the town of Middlebury will be empty on Saturday, minus the tourists at Essenhaus. I even have a large group of Amish coworkers making the trip down for the game.
  5. I'll try to find the replay, but it was initially called a fumble, visitors recover. After a huddle, it was overturned, not sure if they said he was down first or not a clear recovery by the defense, but none the less the replay looked like the initial call was the correct one.
  6. Let's just say your brother had the right call on a play, but was overruled by someone else. After watching the replay on 46, your brother clearly had the right call. Thankfully it didn't matter in the end.
  7. They must have done okay, "✅#IHSAA Football State Finals Preview! Rosters, results, stats, game notes for all six state championship games at Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend! ✅Valparaiso’s Fred Scheub to be honored as state’s top football official! 🏆🏈🦃 News Release: https://t.co/tkhSJsM1cv https://t.co/yraCukvwuG" Other than one head scratcher, they seemed to be a well oiled machine most of the game, at least from this Northridge parents perspective.
  8. Tell me you know nothing about Northridge without telling me. 🤔😤
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