Archive for September 29, 2015


Football - Kokomo


KOKOMO, Ind. - For the first time since 2011, Wildkat Nation is excited for football. Not an “it’s football season” kind of excitement but a genuine “this team is for real” excitement. At 6-0 and in control of the North Central Conference, the 2015 Kokomo Wildkats are lighting scoreboards across the conference, and in the process, rewriting several key entries in the record book.

Last Friday at Walter Cross Field, Muncie Central (3-3) became the latest victim of a sensational Kokomo offense as the Wildkats topped the Bearcats 63-28. The win marked the second time this season Kokomo has scored more than 60 points and was the Kats eighth win over Muncie Central in the last nine years.

In a game of sectional opponents, Kokomo made a statement early – and late – that this year’s squad is the one to beat. Three Wildkat runners cracked the 100-yard rushing mark as the squad tied a school record with nine rushing touchdowns. The Wildkats also set a school record with 601 total yards of offense, breaking the record of 587 yards it set in week two against Indianapolis Arsenal Tech.

“We have a good team,” said Kokomo coach Brett Colby. “I don’t know how good we are yet, though. I will let you know in three weeks how good we are. We have some things we want to accomplish this year.”

Bruising 6-foot-2, 260-pound senior running back Marcelle Kenner set the tone early as a dominating force with a pair of first quarter touchdowns (11 and six yard runs). Then the game turned into the Jeron Gray Show as he left an impression on the Bearcats defense that they will not soon forget. The Wildkat senior ran the pigskin 26 times and found the end zone on six occasions – breaking the school mark of five held by five different Kats. Gray had scoring jaunts of 1, 2, 14, 5, 43 and 22 yards.

“Jeron is a great kid and had his biggest night of his career tonight,” said Colby. “He is a little kid (5-foot-8, 165-pounds) with a big heart. And he not only runs well, be blocks well. That is how Marcelle gets yards – blocking by Jeron and others.”

By the time the starters called it a day, Gray had his second career 200-yard game with 215, plus another 10 yards receiving. Kenner finished with 108 yards on 14 carries and three touchdowns (his third was for 18-yards in the third stanza). Not to be outdone, Keenen Wheeler rushed 11 times for 120 yards, and while he did not have a touchdown he did catch a 2-point conversion from Kyle Wade.

Speaking of Wade, the Kats quarterback cracked 100-yards through the air. The sophomore completed six of eight passes for 114 yards.

“It is hard to prepare for all of those different options,” Colby said of the quintet of 100-yard performers. “I am glad we are able to do that.”

On defense, Jordan Matthews added to his school record with his 14th career interception. DeShaun Barbary led the squad with 11 tackles and a sack. Wheeler had an interception, Homecoming King Jesse Johnson recovered a fumble and Jack Perkins had eight tackles – including a huge tackle for a loss on fourth down as the Bearcats were looking to score from the six-yard line late in the second quarter.

“It was 28-14 and they have the ball first and 10 on the 20,” explained Colby. “We end up getting a stop (Perkins tackle) and then go down and score. Talk about a momentum shift. We put 14 points on the board back-to-back after turnovers – one on downs and one on a fumble.”

But as the record books continue to shatter with this squad, Colby knows he can get more out his Kats.

“Great result, but you have to get better,” said Colby, who has a record of 67-22 at Kokomo. “It was a sloppy game. We had turnovers that never should have happened, missed tackles and penalties – things that we have not done all year.”

Kokomo (4-0 in NCC) has a one-game lead over Richmond and McCutcheon in the conference race. The Kats have already defeated McCutcheon and travel to Richmond in week nine. Kokomo hosts Logansport (1-5, 1-3 NCC) this Friday night at 7 p.m.


Dan Dunn 1


KOKOMO, Ind. - At the Indiana State Horseshoes Tournament held at Kokomo’s Highland Park, Kokomo residents Dan Dunn and Ted Sprinkle battled for the top spot in the Championship Elder’s Division. Sprinkle was the three-time defending champion and Dunn has several state and national titles under his belt. But in the end, Dunn cruised to his first Elder’s Division state title with a 4-0 record to Sprinkle’s 3-1.

The new champion dominated play, scoring 165 points and 137 ringers (on 172 throws) for a ringer percentage of 79.65 during the tournament. Sprinkle, the runner-up, scored 133 points and had a 61.44 ringer percentage on 145 total ringers (out of 236 throws).

“I've been second in the World Tournament and the State Tournament several times and I made up my mind that I wasn't going to take second again,” said Dunn. “I pitched well, approximately 18 percent higher than anyone else in the field; I guess that I was just due.”

During the two-day tournament, 121 of the best horseshoe pitchers visited Kokomo for the state finals. The event was sanctioned by the Indiana Horseshoe Pitchers Association. Competitor’s enjoyed perfect weather during their visit to Kokomo, and Dunn said the Kokomo Parks and Recreation Department provided pitchers with outstanding courts.

“The weather was good,” said Dunn. “The Parks Department did an excellent job manicuring the courts. A good crowd from around the state was there and it was nice to show off our park, the city and our horseshoe club. We're really fortunate to have the facilities we have since most cities don't.”

Dunn is no stranger to horseshoe success. In 2014, he was a Class A national champion in the National Horseshoe Pitchers Association Team World Tournament. He had a national title in 2007 at the National Senior Olympics (age 65-69 division). Dunn also won the Indiana Senior Olympics title in 2006, 2011 and 2012.

Dunn’s ringer percentage at the 2015 state finals was the highest of any competitor during the state tournament, with Championship Elder Division fourth place finisher Phil Gross hitting at a rate of 64.52 percent. Championship Women’s Division winner Sue Snyder went 4-0 and had the third best ringer percentage at 64.29. And Championship Men’s Division winner Dale Moles (7-0) had a 64.02 ringer percentage. For Jasper native Snyder, it was her 10th Women’s Division state title.

Greentown’s James Miller, took top honors in Class F2. He finished the tournament 5-0 with 197 points and 64 ringers.

Sharpsville’s Bill White Sr. earned a state championship trophy in Class F1. He finished 4-2 with 201 points on 80 ringers.

Tipton’s Maria Harris earned state championship honors in Class J1. She finished the tourney 4-1 with 128 points and 36 ringers.

Other division state champions included: Class A1 Richard Mills, Class A2 Carl Sizemore, Class B1 David Moles, Class B2 Mary Sproessig, Class C1 Roger Upton, Class C2 Jim Watson, Class D1 Charlie Campbell, Class D2 Chuck Wothke, Class E1 Jerry Lothridge, Class E2 Dennie Moles, Class G1 Roger Geyer, Class G2 Dwight Silvers, Class H1 Chet Ross, Class H2 Bill Hively and Class J2 George Large.

In all, 21 pitchers from Kokomo, Russiaville and Greentown participated in the state tournament: Joe McKeeman, seventh in Championship Men; Bob Blessing, third in Class A2; Rick Walters, third in Class B1; Jerry Monticue, sixth in Class B1; Bill Harmon, fourth in Class B2; Roger Flick, second in Class C1; Otis Porter, third in Class C1; Rick Kiser, fourth in Class C1; Jennifer Luckey, second in Class D1; Fred Tragesser, fourth in Class D2; Michael Isaac, second in Class E1; Dave Waltman, second in Class E2; Jim Cockrell, fifth in Class G1; Dick Dwigans, second in Class G2; Mary Miller, third in Class H1; Donald Luckey, fourth in Class H2; Roy Walker, fifth in Class H2; and Robert Taylor, second in Class J2.

Tipton County competitors included: Gene Sallee, fourth in Class C2; Charlene Brown, fourth in Class D1; Doug Harris, sixth in Class D1; Roger Brown Jr., fifth in Class J1; and Ashleigh Peach, fourth in Class J2.



They said Kokomo Municipal Stadium would be a multi-use facility, but not even the mayor thought it would happen so soon. The stadium that calls the Kokomo Jackrabbits home during the summer will have competition for turf time in the form of a new soccer franchise.

MKE Sports & Entertainment, owners and operators of the Jackrabbits Prospect League baseball team, announced the Premier Development League has awarded Kokomo an expansion franchise and will compete in Municipal Stadium during the 2016 season.

“After the success of the past year with the Jackrabbits, the city of Kokomo has shown that they are hungry and passionate for sports,” said MKE Sports owner Mike Zimmerman, whose company also operates the Milwaukee Wave soccer club. “We want to continue to invest in the city and bring additional entertainment options to the community and surrounding areas.”

“Kokomo Municipal Stadium is already a key amenity for our city, and this new PDL expansion soccer team is a terrific new addition to the stadium and our city," said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, who admitted he didn’t think a second team would launch so soon. “I want to thank the PDL for choosing Kokomo for their newest expansion team, and thank MKE Sports for their work in bringing this new family friendly activity to our city.”

Since its inception, the PDL’s chief goal has been to help develop players to play in the professional ranks. The league has also been the home for standout performers across Major League Soccer with more than 500 current professionals in the U.S. and Canada having PDL roots.

"Kokomo is an exciting addition for the PDL," Director Todd Eason said. "Mike Zimmerman and MKE Sports have a proven track record of success in the industry, and we expect the club to be among the best operated in the PDL. This is an exciting time for elite players in the region who aspire to play at the next level.”

MKE also launched a contest to seek community input for the team nickname, much like they did for the Jackrabbits. Fans can visit to submit their team name and mascot ideas for a chance to win $1,000.

Season tickets can be reserved on a first come, first serve basis by submitting a $100 deposit online as well. Kokomo Soccer can be found online at and socially on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (search KokomoSoccer).

Courtesy of MKE Sports and the Sports Journal staff