BY DEAN HOCKNEY
KOKOMO, Ind. – On a chilly, rainy night at Northwestern High School, a young Tigers squad laid claim to the Howard County Pigskin Football League 4th grade championship in a thrilling 18-16 win over Eastern.
Eastern (4-2) held the lead for most of the contest. Bentley Hullinger gave the Comets an 8-0 first quarter lead after a 15-yard touchdown run followed by Abe Edwards running in the two-point conversion. The Comets led 16-6 when quarterback Gibson Eagle found Hullinger wide open on a 46-yard scoring pass; again, Edwards added the two-point conversion.
But Eastern’s defense was no match for Northwestern star running back A.J. Jackson. Late in the second stanza, he broke free on a 41-yard touchdown run for the Tigers first score. Down in the fourth, Jackson again cleared the line of scrimmage and raced 70 yards to trim the lead to 16-12 with 6:46 remaining.
The Tigers, coached by Jason Braden, regained possession, but found itself facing a fourth-and-39 with 2:50 left in the contest. But running back Nolan Tarrh was determined to keep Northwestern in the game as he broke three tackles and gained 45 yards for an improbable first down at the Comets 11 yard line. Two plays later, Jackson scored from 12-yards out for his third touchdown of the evening. The Tigers defense then held Eastern to secure the win and a perfect 7-0 season.