Kokomo’s football team makes the long roadie to Richmond today. If the two hour-plus bus ride causes attention to drift, the stakes and the opponent should snap the Wildkats to full attention once they hit the field.
Tonight’s game matches up the last two teams with perfect North Central Conference marks. Kokomo (4-1, 3-0 NCC) owns league wins over Muncie Central, Huntington North and Anderson. The Red Devils (3-2, 3-0 NCC) have wins over Anderson, Marion and Central.
“Definitely the winner’s going to have a leg up on everybody else in the conference, for who is going to have a say a the end of the season,” Kokomo coach Brett Colby said. “We’ve still got three really quality opponents [after Richmond]. If you come out of this 4-0, you’re sitting pretty.”
The Wildkats have won five straight league titles and have never lost an NCC game under sixth-year coach Colby. The Devils will try and end that streak with a balanced attack that is dangerous over air or on the ground.
“They’ve got a new coach [Matt Holeva] so they changed a little bit offensively,” Colby said. “They’re running the ball much better than they have the last few years.
“When they have a lead in the second half, they very rarely ever throw the ball. They’ve got a good QB [Justyn Curtis], good receivers, a heck of a tailback [Taylor Kidd]. They really put a lot of pressure on your defense. They’ll pressure you with whatever they do because right now they have a lot of talented kids going through their program.”
Holeva previously coached for eight seasons at Centerville. There he had a 5-5 record his first season before ripping off seven straight winning seasons.
The ground-centric Wildkats are led in rushing by Michael Copeland, who has run for 763 yards and has scored 11 of Kokomo’s 21 touchdowns. Bo Baker has 354 yards and five TDs. The Wildkats average 6.1 yards per carry.