High School football: All you need to know about Northridge's 4A title game with Mt. Vernon

·5 min read


Northridge Raiders (10-4) vs. No. 4 Mount Vernon (Fortville) Marauders (13-1)

Saturday, Nov. 26 | Kickoff at Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, 3:30 p.m.

► Why not us: Northridge beats New Prairie, advances to first state title game in program history

► Community backing: '100% behind them': Middlebury rallies behind Northridge football team ahead of state title game

The matchup: This is the first state championship-game appearance for the teams which have never met and are led by first-year head coaches. … Northridge’s Chad Eppley, a 2013 graduate of Wawasee who matriculated at the University of Indianapolis (Class of 2017), took over from former Wawasee head coach and later Northridge boss Tom Wogomon, who retired after posting a 52-34 record in eight seasons with the Raiders. … Northridge started the season 4-0 before running into a series of injuries during a 1-4 stretch and eventual fifth-place finish in the Northern Lakes Conference. … The Raiders have won five straight in the postseason, highlighted by their 27-26 overtime win at home against No. 2 Leo for the Sectional 19 championship followed by victories in Regional 10 (25-7 over Mississinewa) and the northern semistate (20-14 at New Prairie). … Mount Vernon's Vince Lidy, a former standout at Castle High School (Class of 1995) and an Indiana University 2000 graduate, took over when veteran coach Mike Kirschner left to coach his high school alma mater Warren Central. … After losing Lidy’s head-coaching debut to Noblesville 57-36, the Marauders have ripped off 13 straight victories, including seven to win the Hoosier Heritage Conference crown. … Mount Vernon routed Connersville 70-0 for the Sectional 21 title, beat Indianapolis Roncalli 27-21 in Regional 11 and then won 42-28 at Evansville Memorial in the southern semistate.

Players to watch: Northridge junior quarterback Tagg Gott has thrown for 1,018 yards and eight touchdowns with four interceptions on 63-of-127 passing (49.6%). … Gott is Northridge’s leading rusher with 1,030 yards on 230 carries (4.5 average) with 15 touchdowns. … In addition to his game-winning 76-yard touchdown pass play to junior Jethro Hochstetler, Gott rushed for 121 yards on 28 carries including one TD run against New Prairie. … Hochstetler leads Northridge with 39 receptions for 630 yards and six TDs, junior Kade Sainz has 25 catches for 468 yards and seven TDs and senior Clint Walker has 37 receptions for 591 yards and four scores. … Senior Ridge Howard (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) has 276 yards on 74 carries (3.9 average). … Howard (145) and Peyton Shook (100) lead team in tackles while Shook also has team-high three interceptions. … Mount Vernon is led by 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior quarterback Gehrig Slunaker who has thrown for 2,793 yards and 31 touchdowns with just three interceptions on 135-of-196 passing (69%). … His favorite target is 5-foot-9, 161-pound senior Ashden Gentry (50 receptions, 1,141 yards, 12 TDs; 116.9 all-purpose yards per game). … The running attack is led by 5-foot-8, 170-pound senior Keagan LaBelle (143 carries for 1,518 yards, 10.6 average, 24 TDs; 141.6 all-purpose yards per game). … LaBelle also leads defense with 100 tackles and 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior linebacker Owen Johnson has team-leading 7.5 quarterback sacks.

Northridge's Tagg Gott celebrates with Jethro Hochstetler after scoring during the Adams vs. Northridge high school football game Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 at School Field in South Bend.
Northridge's Tagg Gott celebrates with Jethro Hochstetler after scoring during the Adams vs. Northridge high school football game Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 at School Field in South Bend.

Roads to Championship

Northridge Raiders

Coach: Chad Eppley, 10-4 in first season

Location: Middlebury, Elkhart County

Regular season

© Northern Lakes Conference game (fifth place, 3-4)

Aug. 20: Northridge 21, at South Bend Adams 0

Aug. 27: Northridge 39, South Bend Saint Joseph 14

Sept. 3: Northridge 42, Wawasee 0 ©

Sept. 10: Northridge 35, at Plymouth 0 ©

Sept. 17: at Warsaw 36, Northridge 3 ©

Sept. 24: NorthWood 42, Northridge 8 ©

Oct. 1: Northridge 35, Goshen 10 ©

Oct. 8: at Concord 40, Northridge 7 ©

Oct. 15: at Mishawaka 58, Northridge 14 ©

Sectional 19

Oct. 22: Northridge 28, at NorthWood 7

Oct. 29: Northridge 35, Columbia City 21

Nov. 5: Northridge 27, Leo 26 (OT)

Regional 10

Nov. 12: Northridge 25, Mississinewa 7

Northern Semistate

Nov. 19: Northridge 20, at New Prairie 14

Mount Vernon Marauders

Coach: Vince Lidy, 13-1 in first season

Location: Fortville, Hancock County

Regular season

© Hoosier Heritage Conference game (7-0 first place)

Aug. 20: Noblesville 57, Mount Vernon 36

Aug. 27: Mount Vernon 43, Franklin 25

Sept. 4: Mount Vernon 42, at Greenfield-Central 21 ©

Sept. 10: Mount Vernon 49, at New Palestine 10 ©

Sept. 17: Mount Vernon 56, Delta 31 ©

Sept. 24: Mount Vernon 43, Pendleton Heights 0 ©

Oct. 1: Mount Vernon 46, at New Castle 0 ©

Oct. 8: Mount Vernon 49, at Shelbyville 0 ©

Oct. 15: Mount Vernon 63, Yorktown 13 ©

Sectional 21

Oct. 22: Mount Vernon 63, Pendleton Heights 28

Oct. 29: Mount Vernon 49, at Greenfield-Central 34

Nov. 5: Mount Vernon 70, Connersville 0

Regional 11

Nov. 12: Mount Vernon 27, Indianapolis Roncalli 21

Southern Semistate

Nov. 19: Mount Vernon 42, at Evansville Memorial 28

Making points: Northridge enters the game having scored 339 points (24.2 points per game) and allowing 275 (19.6 ppg). … Raiders had three regular-season shutouts in first four games (21-0 at South Bend Adams Aug. 20; 42-0 against Wawasee Sept. 3; 35-0 at Plymouth Sept. 10). … Mount Vernon enters the game having scored 678 points (48.4 ppg) and allowing 268 (19.1 ppg). … The Marauders have four shutouts – three in consecutive weeks during regular season (43-0 over Pendleton Heights Sept. 24; 46-0 at New Castle Oct. 1; 49-0 at Shelbyville Oct. 8) and 70-0 whitewash of Connersville in Sectional 21 championship.

Northridge's Matthew Rutledge celebrates during the New Prairie vs. Northridge 4A semistate championship game Friday, Nov. 19, 2021at New Prairie High School.
Northridge's Matthew Rutledge celebrates during the New Prairie vs. Northridge 4A semistate championship game Friday, Nov. 19, 2021at New Prairie High School.

Past postseasons: Northridge, which has won two sectionals, won its only previous regional championship in 2014 when it beat Norwell 17-10. … It then lost northern semistate 28-10 to New Prairie and finished 11-3 under Wogomon. … Mount Vernon, which has six sectional titles, won its only previous regional championship in 2019 when it beat Indianapolis Roncalli 25-17. … It then lost 28-3 at Evansville Memorial in southern semistate to finish 11-3 under Kirschner.

John Fineran, Tribune Correspondent

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Indiana HS football: Previewing Northridge Mt. Vernon in 4A title game

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