Boys Varsity Football
KOKOMO — Any hope Lafayette Jeff had to upset undefeated and Class 5A No. 7 Kokomo became immensely more difficult after surrendering three first-quarter touchdowns as the Wildkats cruised to a 46-14 victory at Walter Cross Field Friday night.
The loss dropped Jeff to 3-2 on the season, but more importantly 1-2 in the North Central Conference race. Kokomo remained undefeated at 5-0 and 3-0 in league play.
Kokomo churned out 370 yards in total offense against Jeff, most of that on the ground as the Wildkats dominated time of possession, 30:30 to 17:22. It didn’t help that the Bronchos turned the ball over six times — five interceptions and a fumble.
Two of those turnovers led directly to Kokomo defensive scores that essentially took Jeff out of the ballgame.
Lafayette Jeff was trailing 27-7 with a chance to get the ball back at the end of the first half when Dan Ricksy muffed the Wildkats punt. Kokomo’s Perry McCullum scooped up the ball and raced for a 10-yard touchdown with 1:10 left for a 33-7 edge going into halftime.
On Jeff’s first possession of the third quarter, the Bronchos appeared to be clicking, quickly driving the ball to the Wildkats 30 with its fast striking offense. But Luke Cameron picked off Bronchos QB Devon Colonis at the 16 and raced 84 yards for a touchdown, practically putting the contest out of reach at 40-7.
“They were much more physical than us, no doubt about it,” Jeff coach Brian Moore said. “I’m disappointed in the mistakes that we made to allowe things to snowball; mishaps with balls flying around everywhere. They have a great team. This is a group they’ve been waiting on and they manhandled us a lot of times.”
Kokomo coach Brett Colby said he was concerned enough about Jeff’s offense, which scored 54 points against Harrison last week, that he felt it was crucial to get off to a fast start. They got that on the first two possessions.
The Wildkats marched 56 yards on their first drive, scoring on a 5-yard touchdown from Keenan Wheeler (16 carries, 84 yards). The Wildkats just needed four plays on their next drive with Jeron Gray (22-159) bolting for 48-yard touchdown run.
“We needed a quick start,” Colby said. “We worked really hard on our double-wing offense this week because we wanted to take the air out of the ball. I thought we finished pretty good against McCutcheon last week and we wanted to keep the ball of their hands.”
Kokomo wide receiver Jordan Matthews, who victimized McCutcheon deep last week, did the same against Jeff, catching a 36-yard touchdown pass on a fourth-and-long play to push the Wildkats lead to 21-0 after the first quarter.
The Bronchos, though, looked like they were ready to mount a rally, pounding out a 13-play drive. Devon Colonis hit Alex Albrecht with a 21-yard touchdown pass with 8:55 before halftime.
But Kokomo got the touchdown back on its next drive, methodically driving 47 yards after a big kickoff return by Wheeler. Marcelle Kenner bulled his way into the end zone on a 3-yard run to give the Wildkats a 27-7 edged after a pass failed for the extra point.
Jeff rushed for just 24 yards on 24 carries while passing for 218 yards, but most of the night the Bronchos did not look like the same offensive team that moved the ball in its first four games.
“We definitely didn’t click tonight,” Moore said. “You could see it in pregame. We weren’t sharp and we weren’t ready to play and that’s my fault. That’s the head coach’s fault every single time. I’ll go back and fix what I can fix and the guys, we’ll have to have a gut check and fix what they can fix this together.”