GRIDIRON FRIDAY NIGHT: HOWARD COUNTY WEEK FOUR ROUND-UP HAS EASTERN UNBEATEN

Northwestern’s Tanner Pipenger and Mitchell Hahn stop a Hamilton Heights runner. (SJ photo/Randy Messner)

BY DEAN HOCKNEY

KOKOMO, Ind. – Four weeks into the 2018 high school football season, only one Howard County squad remains unbeaten – and it is not one of the usual culprits. For the second consecutive season, the Eastern Comets are 4-0 to start the season after crushing Taylor 62-6. Meanwhile, the Titans fell to 2-2, Western improved to 3-1, and Kokomo and Northwestern are both winless going into week five.

“It was one of those games where everything was clicking, and that was the end result,” said Eastern assistant coach Craig Standish. “I thought the kids played very well last night. It was just one of those games where the kids played like we drew it up, and that doesn’t always happen. Our kids executed well and they are playing with cohesiveness, which is important.”

On Eastern’s second offensive play of the game, Dakota Spencer found a hole, broke a tackle and raced 35-yards for a touchdown at Taylor Memorial Field. For the host Titans, it only got worse from there as the Comets scored eight times before halftime. Spencer finished with more than 150 yards on eight carries, scoring three times. Zane Downing added another two rushing touchdowns on 113 yards on the ground. Tytus Morrisett also had a rushing touchdown

The Comets also found pay-dirt through the air as Garrett Hetzner had a pair of touchdown passes while throwing for more than 150 yards and rushing for another 63. Greg Black caught a 32-yard touchdown and Eli Elkins caught two 41-yard scoring passes – the second from Nolan Grubb.

The Comets defense held Taylor to 175 total yards; Anthony Townsend had a fourth quarter 22-yard touchdown run and finished just shy of 100-yards rushing.

In four contests, Eastern has outscored its competition 158-19. Eastern has started the season 4-0 four times (2010, 2011, 2017 and 2018) under 12th-year head coach Josh Edwards, but have never reached 5-0. The Comets hope to change that when they travel to Carroll (2-2) this Friday night at 7 p.m.

“Carroll put it to us pretty good last year at Lucas Oil Stadium,” added Standish. “We played near flawless last night, but we have to focus one game and one opponent at a time.”

Northwestern (7) vs Hamilton Heights (30)

The Northwestern Tigers continue to struggle under interim coach Austen Robison as Hamilton Heights secured its first win of the season against the winless Tigers, 30-7.

Jaelin Fowler scored the Tigers only touchdown on a 12-yard run midway through the third quarter. Fowler finished with 34 yards and Mitchell Hahn added 35 rushing yards. The Tigers defense did account for three turnovers.

Western (56) vs Benton Central (6)

The Western Panthers continue to make waves in the Hoosier Conference following a convincing 56-6 home field victory over Benton Central one week after downing perineal powerhouse Rensselaer Central on the road.

Western jumped to a 49-0 halftime lead before cruising to the victory. The Panthers were so dominant they held the Bison to under five yards of offense in the first half while putting up more than 300 yards of their own in the first 24 minutes of action.

After one quarter, Western led 35-0 as Kitchel Gifford led the offense with touchdown runs of one and 55 yards. Jett Engle found Parker Shelton with touchdown passes of five and six yards. And the defense joined the scoring action when Andrew Ault scooped up a quarterback fumble and raced 15 yards for the score.

In the second stanza, Evan Shaw scored from one-yard out and Engle hit Shelton for a third touchdown – this one for 18 yards. The final score of the game came on a third quarter 21-yard run by Romey Collins.

Kokomo (13) vs McCutcheon (24)

Six turnovers were too much for Kokomo to overcome at Walter Cross Field as McCutcheon avenged last year’s sectional loss by defeating Kokomo 24-13 in North Central Conference action. The Kats fall to 0-4 for the first time since the Wayne Lance era in 2004, when Kokomo finished 1-9.

Kokomo’s offense showed signs of improvement, outgaining the Mavericks 287-271. But the turnovers were critical; the Kats suffered an end-zone turnover on its first possession and fumbled away the ball on the one-yard line.

DeShawn Winston gave Kokomo a 7-3 lead in the second quarter on a three-yard run. McCutcheon regained the lead for good on its next possession for a 10-7 halftime lead, and they extended it to 17-7 early in the third quarter. A 93-yard Peyton Williams to Garrett Maish touchdown pass put the game away in the fourth quarter.

Kokomo quarterback Levi Hrabos had his second consecutive 200-yard passing game, going 16-31-3 for 219 yards as the Wildkats continue to utilize a spread offense. Winston added a second rushing touchdown late and Noa Wainscott caught two passes for 83 yards.

Quotes courtesy of Chris Lowry and the WIOU Saturday Morning Coaches Show

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