Kokomo captains Armon Bridgeforth, Bo Butler, Dylan Orbaugh and Cameron Colby accept the Horseshoe Classic championship plaque. Bridgeforth was also named the game MVP. (SJ Photo: DEAN HOCKNEY)

INDIANAPOLIS – After a 0-2 start, the Kokomo Wildkats made an statement last week that they were still the team to beat in the North Central Conference after they knocked off Muncie Central 62-12. In week two of loop play, the Vikings got the message after the Kats dismantled nearly every facet of the Huntington North playbook en route to a 40-14 win in the second game of the Horseshoe Hall of Fame Classic at Lucas Oil Stadium.

The four-time defending NCC champs jumped on the back of left wing back Armon Bridgeforth who scored five times in three different manners. After forcing Huntington to punt on its first possession, Bridgeforth took the Kats first play from scrimmage over the right tackle, slinked through the line without being touched and scampered 55 yards to put Kokomo (2-2, 2-0) on the board early. Bridgeforth was playing in his second game after missing the first two due to a hand injury.

“They (Kokomo offensive line) made a little hole in there, and once they have a hole I can go,” said Bridgeforth, who has 401 yards and five rushing touchdowns in his two post-injury games. “I trust them to do their job and they trust me to do what I do. I have to give the line all the credit, they were great tonight.”

After another defensive stop on three plays for Kokomo, the offense moved the ball downfield from its own 36. Seven plays later it put six more on the board behind a second Bridgeforth touchdown run over the right guard, this one for 29 yards and a 13-0 lead following the missed PAT.

“Our line was good today,” said Colby. “We had some kids back so we had some depth, and that helped.”

While the defense continued its dominance, the Kat offense stalled on a failed fourth down play and a pair of fumbles. But as time ticked off the first half clock, Bridgeforth electrified the Red and Blue faithful with a two-yard touchdown pass to Gordon Jenkins to give Kokomo a 21-0 lead heading into the locker room.

“The coach calls the plays and he knew the defense would bite on the run, so we faked the run and passed it,” said Bridgeforth.

Huntington North (1-3, 1-1) held its own in the third quarter, but just when they thought they could pat themselves on the back for holding Kokomo scoreless, Bridgeforth struck again – this time on a 47-yard punt return with three minutes left in the quarter, giving Kokomo a comfortable 28-0 lead.

“I think we are a better 2-2 team than we would be a 4-0 team because we had to scrap with Armon was out,” said Colby. “And it made our kids work harder in practice and dig deep.”

Following Bridgeforth’s return, Huntington North found some life courtesy of a Caleb Richison 90-yard kickoff return for a score. But four plays later Jenkins ran over the left guard and cruised 43 yards to put the game out of reach. Bridgeforth would add another touchdown – this one a 52-yard run early in the fourth quarter – and Kokomo took a giant step towards a fifth consecutive NCC title.

Bridgeforth received the Horseshoe Classic Most Valuable Player award after leading the Kats 519 yard offensive attack. The senior racked up 242 yards on the ground and 323 total yards while Jenkins added 135 rushing yards.

Bo Butler led the defense with nine tackles while Tayler Persons made five stops and forced a fumble.

With the win, Kokomo extended its NCC winning streak to 31 games.

“It is nice to be sitting where we are and we have had a nice two weeks,” said Colby on the Kats two conference wins. “Now we can make a run and make some history.”

After three straight games on artificial turf, the Kats return to natural grass when they visit New Castle (0-4, 0-2) next Friday night.

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