KOKOMO — It was another tough night at the office for Plymouth’s Rockies as they continue to struggle with consistency falling on the road to Kokomo 34-18
“We need to find a way to win ballgames and we haven’t put ourselves in a position to do that,” said Plymouth head coach John Barron.
“We had a couple plays on fourth down where if we stop them it is literally our ball and somehow it turns into a touchdown,” he said. “We seem to be our own worst enemy with penalties. First down and fourth down killed us tonight.”
To that point, the WildKats were 6 of 6 in fourth-down conversions on the night. Two of those were for touchdowns.
The first Kokomo score was Torian Smith taking a fourth and four seven yards for a touchdown.
Score number two was similar when Kokomo quarterback Evan Barker hit Plez Lawrence with a 21-yard touchdown pass on fourth and four.
“They got too many yards on first down and then fourth down plays really hurt us,” said Barron. “They got better in a week, but I knew they would. They have a new coach, they had a week to watch themselves on film.”
“Their offensive line wore us out and I did not think that would happen,” said Barron. “We gave up too many plays and our inability to make plays ourselves seems to be the theme of this team right now.”
In many ways, it was a repeat of a week ago at East Noble when penalties and turnovers were the Achilles heel of the Rockies. Plymouth had seven penalties for 63 yards and three turnovers. Two of those were key in a wild third quarter that saw Kokomo stretch their lead.
Once again the Rockies took their opening possession on a solid drive this time putting up points. Again in the third quarter, they took the kick and put together a seven-minute drive.
After penalties took Plymouth from the red zone back out to the 50-yard line, Jake Reichard made it pay off with a 47-yard touchdown run.
Reichard ended the night with 151 of the team’s 230 rushing yards.
“We knew coming in we were going to try running the football a little more. The first week was pretty solid,” said Barron. “Their nose (tackle) gave us some problems in the middle. We had poor snaps most of the night. Jake was having to reach down for those snaps pretty low. That’s something that is a cause of concern right now.”
Defensively it was a roller coaster of a night that saw it’s share of highs and lows.
“We hang in there hang in there and hang in there, and then the first fourth down when we had them stopped by maybe eight or nine yards and they ran through an arm tackle,” said Barron. “We had a couple of guys there who strung it out and we’re using the sideline as a 12th defender, and (Plez Lawrence) is a good player. He’s pretty shifty in the open field. If we make those two plays it could be a different ballgame.”
The Rockies are now 0-2 on the new season with their home and NLC opener next Friday against Warsaw.
•KOKOMO 34, PLYMOUTH 18
at Walter Cross Field.
Plymouth 6 0 6 6 — 18
Kokomo 0 14 7 13 — 34
P — 3:38 Ivan Winkle 12 yard pass from Jake Reichard (Cardona kick failed)
K — 11:49 Torian Smith 7 yard run (Boruff kick)
K — 5:56 Plez Lawrence 21 yard pass from Evan Barker (Boruff kick).
P — 5:22 Reichard 47 yard run (Two-point conversion failed)
K — 3:38 Lawrence 56 yard pass from Barker (Boruff kick)
K — 6:46 Barker one-yard run. (Boruff kick)
K — 4:54 Lawrence 36 yard run. (Boruff kick)
P — :28 Alan Barrera 11 yard pass from Zach Masterson. (Two-point conversion failed)
Rushing — Plymouth (42-250) Reichard 17-160 TD, Lester 14-50, Winkle 5-22, Heiny 6-18. Kokomo (28-129) Lawrence 15-76, Smith 9-37, Barker 2-16.
Passing — Reichard 6-10 44 yds. TD, INT, Masterson 2-3 48 yds. TD. Barker 4-5 131 yards 2TD.
Receiving — Winkle 3-23 TD. Lawrence 3-108 2TD.
Tackles — Quentin Crawford 7.