WEST LAFAYETTE — Kokomo’s football team traveled to Harrison on Friday evening for a North Central Conference showdown.
The Class 5A No. 8-ranked Wildkats had a promising start, but the No. 3 Raiders answered the challenge for a 35-14 win. Harrison clinched at least a share of the HHC title with one week remaining.
Kokomo marched down the field on the game’s opening drive and found itself in the red zone after a 14-yard rush from Plez Lawrence. A five-yard rush on the next play by Lawrence and the Wildkats drew first blood, taking a 7-0 lead.
The Kats’ lead didn’t hold for long as Harrison’s Hunter Newman received the ensuing kickoff and returned it 90 yards and the game-tying score.
The Raiders scored the next three touchdowns in the game including an 80-yard rushing touchdown just 15 seconds into the second half.
Kokomo QB Evan Barker had a 13-yard TD run in the third quarter, but the effort wasn’t enough as the Raiders shut out Kokomo in the fourth quarter.
“I thought we played hard when we first came out,” Kokomo coach Austin Colby said. “We gave up a big play and it took all of the wind out of our sails right there with the kickoff. Then we just kind of were tired and didn’t finish on the next drive.
“Forced the three and out but it comes down to us making more plays than them. … We just gotta play a little bit harder and a little bit more physical.”
It was all ground and pound for both teams as Kokomo rushed for 294 yards and Harrison rushed for 361 yards. The teams combined for just three completed pass attempts.
Lawrence rushed for 177 yards on 30 carries.
Defensively, Tyreese Tucker, Keegan Name and Shayne Spear led Kokomo with six tackles each.
For Kokomo, Colby pointed towards their lack of energy at times contributing to big plays made down the stretch by the Raiders.
“I think if we could just continue to play and do what we do then we’re going to be okay. I thought we executed well on both sides of the ball. We just gotta continue to do it and we just get flat and we give up big plays. We just can’t let that happen against a good offensive team,” he said.
The loss to Harrison dropped Kokomo to 6-2 overall and 3-2 in the NCC with a chance to bounce back next week as the Wildkats host Indianapolis Tech to close the regular season.
With sectional play looming, Colby understands that his team will only go as far as their execution takes them.
“Just learn how to execute every single play,” Colby said. “We gotta play perfect games when It comes down to it. October, November football is a little different football and if we can’t execute then we’re not going to win.”