BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – After five weeks of the high school football campaign, the Eastern Comets and Western Panthers are the cream of the crop in Howard County. Meanwhile, Kokomo, Taylor and Northwestern all suffered losses.
For the Comets, they are off to a dominating start to the season at 5-0 following a 58-0 win at Carroll.
“We played very well last night,” said Eastern assistant coach Craig Standish. “We had to make some adjustments, and our kids really got dialed in and kept the momentum going.”
In five victories, the Comets have outscored its competition 216-19 while posting a pair of shutouts and scoring 58 or more points an incredible three times. The unranked Comets are now among the state leaders on defense. The 3.8 points against average is the best in Class 2A and is tied for second best in the state with Pioneer and Southwood – Covenant Christian is giving up just 2.4 points per game. The squads 43.2 offensive points per game is 23rd best in the state and its average margin of victory (39.4) is seventh best in Indiana.
“Things are clicking,” said Standish. “Our special teams are playing well. Our offense had over 300 yards rushing last night. And the defense played really well – [Carroll] had minus 40 rushing. But the kids sure make the coaches look good with their effort and determination – hopefully we are giving them the opportunity to do something special.”
Against Carroll, the Comets scored on five of its first six possessions before cruising to the victory. Dakota Spencer ran for 140-yards on 10 carries. He opened the scoring with a 36-yard scamper before tacking on two more scores later in the game.
Garrett Hetzner connected on three second quarter touchdown passes to put the game out of reach – two to Ethan Jones and one to Eli Elkins. Spencer also had a 68-yard second quarter touchdown run. Elkins also had an 85-yard pick six.
Western (55) at Hamilton Heights (0)
The Western Panthers won its third consecutive contest, this one a 55-0 win over Hoosier Conference rival Hamilton Heights in Arcadia. The Panthers struck early and often in the win as Kitchel Gifford took the opening kickoff 87-yards for a quick six points.
By the end of the night, Gifford had 178-yard rushing and 140 yards receiving in a stellar performance. The senior had touchdowns runs of 46 and 60 yards and hauled in a Jett Engle pass and raced 90-yards for a score.
Josh Coleman added an 11-yard rushing touchdown and Jerry Padgett scored twice on the ground. Evan Shaw also had a rushing touchdown. Engle connected on 3 of 6 passes for 187 yards through the air.
Kokomo (13) at 6A No. 11 Lafayette Jeff (58)
For the first time since 1975, the Kokomo Wildkats have started the season 0-5 after falling to Class 6A No. 11 Lafayette Jefferson 58-13 on the road. Ten minutes into the game, the Bronchos had blitzed the Kokomo defense for three touchdowns of 25-yards or more before storming to a 44-6 lead at the half.
Maximus Grimes found Derrick Matthews on touchdown passes of 25 and 72-yards in the first five minutes of the game before Brian Jenkins caught a 45-yarder for a 22-0 lead. Kokomo found the end zone with 1:45 left in the first quarter as Levi Hrabos hit Steven Edwards for a 64-yard score.
But Marquis Munoz scored with 10 seconds left in the stanza and then again 80 seconds later for a 30-6 lead. By the time the fourth quarter running clock ended, Jeff had accumulated 502 offensive yards (272 passing and 230 rushing).
Hrabos continues to show off his arm as he connected on 15 of 30 passing attempts for 171 yards, two interceptions and one touchdown. Through five games, the senior transfer has 874 yards through the air and is on pace to challenge the single-season record of 1,694 yards, set by Kyle Wade during last year’s state finals run.
Edwards finished with four receptions for 118 yards. Jeremy Baker had 28 yards rushing on nine carries, DeShawn Winston had 37 rushing yards and Noah Cameron accounted for the Kats final touchdown on a five-yard run.
Taylor (10) at Clinton Central (40)
Taylor dropped its third consecutive contest in a 40-10 loss to Clinton Central. After an 0-10 season one year ago, Clinton Central stands 4-1 this year.
Northwestern (0) at Lewis Cass (49)
After Gabe Eurit returned the opening kickoff 88-yards for a Lewis Cass touchdown, the Kings never looked back as they celebrated Homecoming with a 49-0 victory over the winless Northwestern Tigers. As impressive as the Lewis Cass offensive was – they had more than 250 rushing yards – the defense posted a shutout while grabbing five interceptions. Eurit finished with 135 rushing yards and four touchdowns. The 0-5 start for the Tigers is the programs worst since 2002
Quotes courtesy of Chris Lowry and the WIOU Saturday Morning Coaches Show