VEEDERSBURG, Ind. — Not even a 43-minute delay to fix a lighting issue in the middle of the first quarter of a classic battle between the Class A No. 2 North Vermillion Falcons and the No. 5 Fountain Central Mustangs could ruin the intensity that surrounded Friday’s Wabash River Conference showdown.
For the first time in five meetings, the Falcons defeated the Mustangs in last year’s regular season contest, and North Vermillion made it two in a row on Friday, defeating Fountain Central 42-35.
North Vermillion (8-0 overall, 6-0 in the WRC) extended its regular-season winning streak to 18 games, and is one win away from not only another WRC title, but completing back-to-back undefeated campaigns.
“It’s what you get when we have two football teams like we have right now,” North Vermillion coach Brian Crabtree said of the back-and-forth battle. “It’s all you could want out of a football game. Hats off to Fountain Central, too, because they didn’t win on the scoreboard but they certainly played really hard tonight.”
The two teams combined for eight total turnovers (seven interceptions, one fumble). Fountain Central quarterback Koby Pierce was picked off four times, but the most crucial of the interceptions came with one minute, 17 seconds to go in the third quarter.
North Vermillion led 28-21, and Fountain Central (7-1, 5-1) was set for a game-tying drive. North Vermillion’s Jacob Earl had other plans in mind. The sophomore defensive back read the Mustangs’ first play of the drive to perfection, snagged the interception, and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown to give the Falcons a 35-21 lead.
“They got me on that two times earlier in the game,” Earl said, “and I jumped it that time. I had a feeling it was coming so I just jumped under it. I’m glad I got it.”