Muncie Central vs. #5 Kokomo (Sectional)

A defense coming in allowing 30 points per game, gave up only 20 against a team that scored 62 on them earlier in the year. No points were scored in the first quarter to a team who had scored 137 points in the first quarters of their first nine games. Did that defense’s team win? Almost. The hardest word to hear. In a thriller, #5 Kokomo squeaked by the Muncie Central Bearcats in as exciting a game as you’ll ever see 20-15. With so many positive happenings in a game the Bearcats were given no chance, almost is the word they were hoping to avoid.

Coach Adam Morris has always said if you play with emotion defensively, you play better. On this night he was correct. The defense was flying around and egnited their fans. Muncie Central controlled the line of scrimmage against Kokomo. An offense line who helped guide the Wildkats to average 49 points per game (second only to #1 New Palestine’s 66 per game) could not open up any lanes for their 1400 yard running back. If there was one side of the ball that was to shine on Friday, most would have taken the offense. Instead the defense took matters into their hands and played the game of their lives. Only a late touchdown pass would erase the memories of how great that defense actually played. They were the only team all year that did not allow a single player to rush for 100 yards. The same Muncie Central team who were down 21-0 to Kokomo before they could blink just a month earlier. The sad point other than losing? That no one will remember just how terrific the defense played.

Positives? Andre Wells, Trenton Hatfield, and Jamel Barners are all back for their final year. Defensively you return three out of four defensive lineman and three of four secondary starters. Gone will be Joe Scruggs and Vince Coleman which will hurt. However, you maybe return your most important piece in Head Coach Adam Morris. That sounds odd but hear me out. Sign #1 that this team/system is different: the opening win against Pendleton Heights on the road in runaway fashion (has historically been a lopsided series in PE favor). Sign #2: this Kokomo game. The offense opened up. The defense was prepared and played with emotion against one of the state’s best offenses. Rather than playing conservative, Coach Morris went for the win (Muncie Central led 15-14 after a successful 2-point conversion with 3 minutes to play). This has always been a basketball town but Coach Morris is doing his part in just one year to sway that fan base to pay more attention to this football team. Oh and he just might have a darkhorse Mr. Football candidate in Andre Wells. Watch out. Muncie Central is going to be special next year in football.

 

Mark Foerster

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