Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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September 29, 2013

Back in business

Kats getting healthy again after rough start

If Kokomo coach Brett Colby had to use one word to sum up the first half of the 2013 season, more than likely, that word would be injuries.

The Wildkats lost quarterback/safety Tayler Persons — a four-year starter whom many would agree was the heart and soul of the team —for the season in Week 2 to a ligament tear in his knee.

Four other starters, quarterback/defensive back Keyon Washington, lineman Jacque Matthews, linebacker Quinton Young and running back Luis Ascencio have all missed significant time in the Kats’ 2-3 start to the season.

Those two wins have come in back-to-back weeks against Huntington North and New Castle, and now, all of those players, minus Persons, will be back in the lineup Friday night when Kokomo hosts North Central Conference-leading Richmond.

“It was like Christmas morning Tuesday night at practice,” Colby said. “The kids were excited and we had great energy. It’s been a really good [week] of work. We made the most of it this week, probably more so than any other week this season. Let’s hope it carries over to Friday, but I’m excited about seeing us come out this week like we have.”

The Red Devils (4-1, 3-0 NCC) have won three in a row since a 46-2 loss to 4A No. 7-ranked New Palestine on Aug. 30. Richmond defeated Kokomo (2-3, 1-1 NCC) 26-22 last season in a game that was halted on Friday night due to weather and resumed on the following day, forcing the Kats to make a second trip to Richmond in less than 24 hours. The loss snapped a 39-game NCC winning streak for the Kats as the Red Devils went on to win the conference crown.

This season, Richmond has been getting it done through the air, led by quarterback Jordan Christian, who has completed 45 of 77 passes for 891 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Christian’s favorite target has been Matt Morrow, who has 21 catches for 417 yards and five TDs. Derek Williams is the squad’s leading rusher with 178 yards and two TDs on 44 carries.

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