Asked what he changed at halftime, McCutcheon football coach Ken Frauhiger said: “Nothing. Nothing.”
It wasn’t tactical changes that turned a tight game into a McCutcheon romp Friday night at Walter Cross Field. It was just the kids in the trenches on the field turning the intensity up and paving the way for a 42-13 McCutcheon victory over Kokomo after the Mavericks had led just 7-6 at halftime.
“We just got game speed again,” Frauhiger said following his squad’s victory in the semifinal round of Class 5A Sectional 11. “I don’t care how well you practice, it’s just that game speed and practice are different. Our kids adjusted very well at halftime. We made just a couple small adjustments and the kids really played well in the second half.”
McCutcheon (4-6) and Kokomo (5-5) each had a passing TD in the first half as the visitors dented the scoreboard first with a 22-yard strike from Aaron Phillips to star back Nate Deno in the first quarter. Kokomo (5-5) answered with a 17-yard pass from Jordan Rawlins to Jordan Matthews in the second quarter. The Kats missed the extra point. Kokomo was in position to take the lead at the end of the first half, driving to the McCutcheon 7 but Kokomo was repelled on a fourth down play with 1:19 left.
Halftime hit shortly thereafter, and the game changed.
“They got after us up front a little bit and played tougher,” Kokomo coach Brett Colby said of McCutcheon’s defense, which held Kokomo’s running game to just 37 yards in the second half and forced the Kats to go to the air. “They weren’t in any different front look. We’ve just got to maintain blocks and get off the ball better. They got after us in the second half and we didn’t respond very well.”