RECORDS & AWARDS
KOKOMO VS NEW CASTLE GAME STORY
September 17, 2012Richmond High School
Heading into Friday night’s North Central Conference tilt against New Castle at Walter Cross Field, Kokomo football fans had two numbers on their minds — 39 and 33. That’s 39 consecutive NCC wins and 33 straight wins over the Trojans.
While the Wildkats satisfied their fans and extended the streaks with a convincing 44-7 victory, the Kokomo players and coaches weren’t focused on streaks according to coach Brett Colby.
“We hadn’t played a good game yet,” he said, “and we were just looking to come out and play a good game. It didn’t matter who we were playing. We’ve tried to tell [our players] that the last two weeks. We needed to fix ourselves and get ourselves better, and hopefully we took a step forward this week. I’m pretty sure we did, and we just need to keep moving in that direction.”
Indeed, Kokomo (4-1, 3-0 NCC) was nearly perfect in the first half. Defensively, the Wildkat defense completely stymied the Trojans, holding the visitors to minus three yards on 17 offensive plays and zero first downs. New Castle’s six first half possessions resulted in five punts and an interception.
Meanwhile, the Kokomo offense was firing on all cylinders. In their first five possessions, the Kats put up four touchdowns and a field goal for a 31-0 lead. They gained 245 yards on 26 rushes and didn’t need to attempt a pass.
Sophomore wingback Bo Baker got the party started with two rushing touchdowns in the first quarter — a 19-yard TD run on Kokomo’s fourth play from scrimmage and a nine-yard burst that was set up by Montanez Fowler’s 30-yard run around left end.
New Castle (0-5, 0-3) finally reached Kokomo territory on Markus Meredith’s 40-yard kickoff return, but the Wildkats held and scored again when Michael Copeland sprinted 76 yards around right end to make it 21-0.
The onslaught continued in the second period. Wildkat quarterback Tayler Persons did the honors on the next TD, scampering 18 yards on a keeper up the middle to make it 28-0. Josh Stewart added a 26-yard field goal for Kokomo with 1:03 left in the half.
Colby decided to work on his spread offense to start the second half, and Persons responded, connecting with Dylan Orbaugh on a 55-yard touchdown pass on a third and 25. It was the Kats’ longest pass play since Austin Colby connected with Chase Swain for 59 yards against the Trojans two years ago.
Kokomo capped its scoring with a 32-yard scamper by Rashad Gray just 40 seconds into the final quarter. New Castle’s only score came midway through the fourth when Caleb Smith found Meredith open for a TD from 28 yards out.
Once again, Copeland had a big game for the Kats with 136 yards on 13 carries while Baker added 60 yards on just six rushes. Persons was 3 of 5 passing for 66 yards and a TD, his best effort through the air this season.
The Kats’ win means their upcoming game at Richmond will be for first place in the NCC. The Red Devils beat Muncie Central 26-21 Friday night to match Kokomo’s 3-0 conference record.
“It’s going to be a great game [next] week,” said Colby. “It’s going to be a really fun atmosphere. Richmond’s a great place to play. I honestly think it’s probably the heart of football in our conference. They’ve had NFL players down there. They’ve got tradition down there. We’re up against it. We understand that, but our kids are ready for the challenge, I think. We’re fired up to go down there and play a great game.”