Prep Football

No. 10 Mount Vernon holds off Vinton-Shellsburg in Class 2A first round

Mustangs score 18 unanswered for 25-15 win

Collin Swantz of Mount Vernon catches a pass along the sideline during a game against Vinton-Shellsburg earlier this sea
Collin Swantz of Mount Vernon catches a pass along the sideline during a game against Vinton-Shellsburg earlier this season. (Justin Torner/Freelance for the Gazette)

MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon needed someone to make a big play. Who better than Collin Swantz, Class 2A’s leader in receiving touchdowns, yards and receptions?

With 6:02 remaining and the game tied at 15, facing a fourth-and-6 at Vinton-Shellsburg’s 30, Brady Ketchum threw a pass that was tipped by two Viking defenders and landed in the hands of Swantz, who then took it to the end zone, as the 10th-ranked Mustangs (7-1) held off Vinton-Shellsburg (2-6), 25-15, Friday night in a Class 2A first-round playoff game.

“It was a little breakdown play, but we know what we do when Brady starts scrambling,” Swantz said. “And that’s just what we did — find open space — and I was able to concentrate and make the play.”

The 30-yard score was Swantz’s second of the game, as the senior receiver extended his receiving touchdown total to 14 for the season. Swantz caught four passes for 77 yards to go with his two scores.

“He’s a playmaker,” Mount Vernon head coach Lance Pedersen said. “He stays with the ball. It was not a great play for us by any means, but he stays with it and makes a play.”

The two teams met in Week 4, and Mount Vernon narrowly escaped with a 21-13 victory.

“Their (Vinton-Shellsburg’s) defense played solid tonight, so you give them a lot of credit,” Pedersen said. “They’re a very good football team. We knew this was not going to be a cakewalk.”

Mount Vernon’s Trenton Pitlik carried the ball on 13 consecutive plays for 53 yards, with his 13th carry resulting in a 4-yard touchdown on a crucial fourth-and-goal, cutting the deficit to two points heading to halftime. Pitlik carried the ball 26 times for 106 yards and a score, but left the game in the fourth quarter and didn’t return.

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Brooks Erickson scored a 4-yard TD with 6:40 to go in the third quarter to extend the Vikings’ lead to 15-7. From there, Mount Vernon scored 18 unanswered points.

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