BY DEAN HOCKNEY
(SPORTS JOURNAL WEB EXCLUSIVE)
PLAINFIELD – The Kokomo Wildkats find themselves in unfamiliar territory in the Brett Colby era. For the second time in two weeks, the Kats find themselves on the wrong side of a football game, this time falling to Plainfield 21-14. It is the first time since 2005 that Kokomo has started a season 0-2, but Kokomo head coach Brett Colby found positives in the progress of the team.
“I told the kids after the game that if they played last week like they did tonight, we would be 1-1,” said Colby.
The Kats found themselves in a quick hole as Quaker runner Garrett Goodbar scampered 43-yards for the first score of the game at the 10:05 mark of the first quarter. But the Kats battled back and were in a position to tie the game after an 8-yard touchdown run by Will Haynes, but the point after hit the upright and the Quakers led 7-6 after one quarter. The 85-yard drive was one of two long scoring drives for Kokomo in the first half.
Things got exciting for the Red and Blue faithful in the second quarter. After a Quaker punt pinned the Kats on the five yard line, they promptly back peddled 4.5 yards on the first play – nearly getting called for a safety. The next play, from the one inch mark, was also a near safety, but speedy Gordon Jenkins scooted around the left end for a small gain. Thirteen plays later, Bo Butler found a hole and scored his first touchdown of 2011 to give Kokomo the lead after a 15 play, 99-yard drive. The two-point conversion was good and Kokomo led 14-7.
But Kokomo’s lead would not last. On fourth and six and with 32 seconds left in the first half, Plainfield quarterback Nick Collier drifter to his right and found Joey McGuire in the back of the end zone for an 11-yard touchdown, tying the game at 14 as the teams headed to their locker rooms.
“We have to get disciplined and stop making silly penalties if we want to be a championship football team,” said Colby.
Neither team scored in the third stanza, and with 11:32 left in the game, Chad Middleton took a swing pass from Collier for a 22 yard gain, and Collier scored on a quarterback sneak one play later to give the Quakers a 21-14 lead. Kokomo could not do anything with the ball on its next possession and punted the ball away. The defense came up big and held the Quakers with just over four minutes left. But the Kats were called for roughing the kicker on the punt attempt, allowing Plainfield to keep possession of the ball. Kokomo had one final shot at the end zone but came up empty as Plainfield improved to 2-0.
“We had a chance at the end but we turned the ball over. We cannot continue to turn the ball over,” said Colby. “No one wants to be 0-2 – it is a gut-wrenching feeling and it hurts,” said Colby. “But I told them, ‘If you win the next seven, no one will remember you lost the first two.’ The pre-season is done and it is now time for the conference season.”
Kokomo continues its three-game road trip next Saturday as they travel to Ball State University to play Muncie Central in the first of seven North Central Conference games. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. as Kokomo looks to regain its winning form.
GAME NOTES: …Kokomo’s record-setting running back Armon Bridgeforth missed his second consecutive game after breaking his hand before the season. He is expected to return within the next two weeks. …The game also marked the first-ever football meeting between the Kokomo and Plainfield. …Haynes’ score was Kokomo’s first offensive touchdown of the season. …Kokomo attempted just two passes against Plainfield.