MOUNT VERNON — On paper, Vinton-Shellsburg’s defensive blueprint was sound: Contain one of Class 2A’s top passing tandems.
The problem is, that blueprint didn’t include instructions on how to stop Trenton Pitlik.
“Vinton-Shellsburg came in and had a very good game plan,” Mount Vernon Coach Lance Pedersen said.
“They caused us to do some things that we didn’t want to have to do on the offensive side.”
Mount Vernon entered Friday night’s contest second in Class 2A with 577 passing yards. The quarterback-receiver combination of Brady Ketchum and Colin Swantz has proved to be one of Class 2A’s most potent.
But Friday night the rushing attack, led by Trenton Pitlik, stole the show.
“They weren’t hitting me low,” Pitlik said. “They were trying to tackle me high and that’s just not going to work.”
Pitlik rushed the ball 20 times for 175 yards and had all three of Mount Vernon’s TDs as the Class 2A seventh-ranked Mustangs (4-0, 2-0) held off a scrappy Vinton-Shellsburg (1-3, 0-2) team, 21-13, at Ash Park Stadium.
“(Pitlik) was just a horse on the field,” Pedersen said. “He gave a great effort both on offense and defense, the kid probably played 165 plays tonight.”
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On Mount Vernon’s opening second-half drive, which began and its own 24 after the defense forced a turnover on downs, Pitlik ran 41 yards into the red zone.
Then he capped a seven-play, 76-yard scoring drive with a 1-yard TD run to give Mount Vernon its first lead at 14-7.
Vinton-Shellsburg’s Brooks Erickson answered with a 13-yard TD, brushing off several defenders along the way.
Early in the fourth, Pitlik scored his third TD of the game, this one from 41 yards out.
“I think the biggest the thing is you don’t want to have to be a pass-only team or a run-only team,” Pedersen said. “If you try to pressure the quarterback, we’re going to run the ball.”