Both Northridge and Mt. Vernon were appearing in their first-ever state finals game this year. Hopes were high on both sides to bring home a state championship trophy. For Mt. Vernon, a successful postseason run headlined by taking down undefeated Roncalli has shot them through to state championships. Northridge played the underdogs in the tournament after finishing the regular season 5-4. Nonetheless, a one-point win over #2 ranked Leo led the team through sectionals and eventually to state finals.
Mt. Vernon received the ball first and it was not long until Keegan LaBelle found the end zone on a 25 yard run for the Marauders. Later in the first quarter, QB Gehrig Slunaker strikes George Burhenn on a quick out route leading to a 12-yard score. It was not a perfect start for Mt. Vernon though as Northridge Ridge Howard forced a fumble followed by a recovery from Peyton Shook to end the quarter.
George Burhenn made his second great play of the night when he intercepted Raiders QB Tagg Gott inside the 40. Unable to take advantage of the turnover, they punt it back to Northridge. Northridge managed to move the ball close to where their last drive ended, but Mt. Vernon’s Ashden Gentry ended the momentum after returning an interception 60 yards to add on another 6 points for the Marauders. Peyton Shook forced his second turnover for Northridge with an interception on his 38-yard line. The Raiders took advantage of the turnover and finally came out with a few points when Tagg Gott connected with Jethro Hochstetler 23 yards downfield and into the end zone making the score 20-7 Mt. Vernon. Mt. Vernon put together a great end of the half drive capping off with a 5-yard touchdown from Keegan LaBelle. With the two-point conversion no good, Mt. Vernon went into the locker room at halftime up 26-7
In the middle of the third quarter, Gehrig Slunaker threw a beautiful 45-yard pass to Elijah Bridenthal to expand their lead to 32-7. Ashden Gentry of Mt. Vernon found the end zone for a second time tonight, this time on offense with a 19-yard connection over the middle.
Mt. Vernon had not let up on the pedal yet as Travon Hegler carried the ball 55 yards for an Mt. Vernon touchdown to open up the fourth. The last score of the night came off a 35-yard fumble return from Northridge’s Peyton Shook after a sack. The score would stay 45-14 through the next 8 minutes leading to Mt. Verno becoming the 2021 4A State Champions!