BY PEDRO VELAZCO KOKOMO TRIBUNE
---- — MARION — Kokomo’s football team found its footing, dug in, and pushed Marion all over the field Friday night, frustrating the Giants and throwing a wet blanket on the rival school’s homecoming. The Wildkats ran for 484 yards without attempting a single pass and left Marion with a 56-6 victory.
It was far and away the Kats’ biggest victory of the season, and largest scoring output.
“The one thing I was pleased with more than any was our offensive line,” Kokomo coach Brett Colby said. “We’ve taken steps in the right direction I think. It was a tough beginning of the season with six brand-new starters for us, but they’ve come around these last two or three weeks and taken pride in their jobs and it’s made a difference.”
With the line carving holes and pushing the Giants back, Wildkat running backs rumbled for 288 yards in the first half as the Kats raced to a 35-6 lead at halftime. Junior Bo Baker ran 16 times for 186 yards including a 67-yard TD run in the Wildkats’ 28-point third quarter. Jeron Gray, eligibile for his first action of the season, added 81 yards on a dozen totes with two rushing scores and a 71-yard interception return for a TD. And Jordan Holloman added 69 yards on 11 carries with two TDs.
“I think what they did [Friday] was something we hadn’t seen a whole lot on film because we really made a commitment to stop the off tackle, and they pushed it outside, and as we stopped the outside stuff, their backs started cutting back,” Marion coach Ryan Vermilion said. “We did not do a good job [against] the cutback. I felt like we did a good job of stopping the initial attack, but you’ve still got to play the entire play ‘til the guy is down and their backs did a good job of finding a hole out the back side. They were able to get some big plays and it kind of steamrolled as the game went on.”
Kokomo’s defense made a series of big plays to keep the Giants at bay. Marion (1-7, 0-4 North Central Conference) got a big return on the opening kickoff and took the ball the Kat three-yard line when Kokomo’s defense responded by forcing and recovering a fumble. The Kats (4-4, 3-2 NCC) scored on their next possession when Holloman powered in from seven yards out.
Up 7-0 to start the second quarter, Kokomo’s Gray intercepted a pass by Marion quarterback Niko Trevino and tore upfield for a defensive score to double Kokomo’s advantage. The Kats scored twice more on short runs by Holloman and Gray, then Kokomo’s Jordan Rawlins snagged an interception that set up Baker’s 67-yard TD. That made the score 35-6 Kats with just 23 seconds left in the half and took any remaining fight out of the Giants.
“Jordan Rawlins made a nice pick down here, nice fumble [recovery] on the other end of the field,” Colby said. “Just real happy we did get a defensive shutout.”
Marion’s only score came on special teams when Jordan Feurstein took a kickoff 88 yards to the end zone in the second quarter.
Kokomo’s defense also harassed Trevino, knocking him out of the game with a non-throwing arm injury, then kept pursing younger brother Lorenzo Trevino, a freshman who entered as the backup. Kokomo had a school-record nine sacks, pushing Marion back 49 yards on those plays. Marion ran for just 34 yards and passed for 109.
Kokomo’s Cuba Evans scored on a 13-yard run and Keenan Wheeler on a 26-yarder in the fourth quarter.