October 5, 2013

Kokomo's D turns back Logan

Berries fall to 2-3 in NCC

by Bryan Gaskins
For the Pharos-Tribune

Kokomo — KOKOMO — Kokomo’s football team rode an explosive offensive attack to North Central Conference championships in 2007-11. The Wildkats showed a solid attack in posting a runner-up finish last year.

The Wildkats lack the same type of punch this year — but they have a defense willing to shoulder a heavier workload.

Senior middle linebacker Fletcher Miller and the defense came up big in a 14-7 victory over Logansport in North Central Conference play Friday night at Walter Cross Field.

“It was a hard-fought win,” said Miller, who had a team-high 10 tackles. “We kept shooting ourselves in the foot on offense, not finishing drives. We probably should have beat them quite a bit worse than we did. But our defense stepped up and played solid and got it done. That’s all that matters. We got the senior night win.”

Kokomo improved to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the NCC. The Kats have allowed just 20 points in their three wins.

The Kat defense had an inauspicious start — Isaac Eastburn ripped off a 45-yard touchdown run on the Berries’ first offensive play. The Kats shook that off and held the Berries to just 144 yards the rest of the way.

Kokomo followed Logansport’s quick-strike touchdown with a 14-play scoring drive that wingback Bo Baker capped with a 2-yard TD run. From there, the Kats forced the Berries into a pair of three-and-outs and worked with good field position — but sputtered offensively.

The Kats reached the Logansport 4-yard line, but turned the ball over after a low snap on a field-goal attempt. Next, the Kats reached the Logansport 7, but Baker fumbled after being flipped head over heels on a third-down run.

With the Berries pinned deep in their own territory, the Kat defense forced another three-and-out, and Kokomo took over at the Logansport 16. Two plays later, Baker crashed the end zone on a 5-yard TD run and Ben Huff added the PAT kick for a 14-7 lead with 2:59 left in the first half.

Logansport threatened in the closing seconds of the half. The Berries had a touchdown run negated by an illegal shift. Two plays later, on the final play of the half, Schrock completed a 25-yard pass to Alex Brink to the Kokomo 5, but the Kats kept Brink from reaching the end zone.

Logansport dropped to 2-5 overall and 2-3 in the NCC.

Logansport coach Brad Urban lamented his squad’s missed opportunities.

“A lot of mistakes in key parts of the game,” he said. “We had some opportunites, we just didn’t take advantage of them. Kokomo got two scores on the board and that was enough. Besides that, we played pretty good defense. Field position, they dominated that in the first half, but we were able to flip the field, but we couldn’t get anything go consistently on offense. Sometimes, we were kind of our worst enemy, getting non-essential penalties — not lining up right, two guys in motion. Just not very smart football.”

Logansport’s defense gave the Berries a chance to win, holding Kokomo in check in the second half.

“We changed some things up that worked and that is to the coaches’ credit. They did a good job on defense. But offensively, we just have to do a better job. We didn’t execute very well. We made too many mistakes,” Urban said.

Jacob Brown led the Berries with a game-high 16 tackles. He had 2 1/2 tackles for loss and one sack. Khalil Carter had 11 tackles and Caleb McLochlin had 10 tackles.

Schrock completed 5 of 9 pass attempts for 95 yards. Eastburn was Logan’s top rusher with 43 yards on two carries.