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Mercy-full Friday for county football teams

BY SCOTT HUNT - shunt@chronicle-tribune.com

When the IHSAA adopted the 'mercy rule' for high school football in late April, it did so for a number of reasons. Most notably to expedite non-competitive games and help reduce the chances for injuries to student-athletes.

The rule calls for a running clock when the point differential between teams reaches 35 in the second half. The only time the game clock stops from that point on is for timeouts, scores and injuries, even if the differential drops under 35. 

Three of the four games in Grant County on Friday reached that mercy threshold, only Blackford and Oak Hill waged a competitive battle. In fact, Mississinewa's domination of Elwood was so swift and complete, the coaching staffs agreed to start running the clock non-stop in the second quarter.

Following are the recaps from week three games in Grant County.

Marion 45, Kokomo 6

The Class 4A No. Giants and Wildkats have played role reversal on the football field over the past two seasons. For nearly a decade it was Kokomo that owned Marion. Only one of the seven games prior to Giants' coach Craig Chambers taking over the program in 2016 was close, in 2010 when the 'Kats earned a 28-27 win in overtime. In six of the other seven, Kokomo won by at least 42 points. 

In the first two years Chambers coached against the Wildkats, the Giants lost 21-12 and 17-14 to extend an 11-year drought for the Giants.

Safe to say that drought is over after Marion's second-consecutive 39-point thrashing of Kokomo.

The Giants went up 12-0 in the first quarter thanks to a safety, Kyle Coryea's 24-yard field goal and an 11-yard touchdown reception by Braxstin Delgado. Khalid Stamps second quarter TD run extended Marion's lead to 19-0 at halftime. 

Keshaun Taylor scored on a 44-yard run on the Giants less than three minutes into the third quarter, then four minutes later, connected with JK Thomas on a 38-yard touchdown pass play to extend the lead to 32-0.

Stamps' second TD run, a 10-yarder, with 2:48 left in the third quarter made it 38-0 and put the mercy rule in effect. Kokomo scored its TD with 6:27 to play on a Torian Smith 20-yard run, but Thomas returned the ensuing kickoff 81 yards to cap the Giants scoring.

Stamps finished with 84 yards rushing, Taylor had 74 and Thomas 66. 

 

Marion (2-1) hosts Anderson on Friday to culminate homecoming week.

Mississinewa 77, Elwood 0

The Class 4A No. 5 Indians scored 42 points in the first and led 63-0 at halftime letting coach Curt Funk rest his starters and give valuable experience to a host of freshmen and junior varsity players.

Ole Miss played without top offensive threat Cade Campbell, who injured an ankle late in the week two win over New Haven. It mattered not as the Indians set a new school scoring record with their 77-0 demolition of the Panthers.

The Indians needed just two plays and 36 seconds after receiving the opening kickoff to put points on the board. Junior running back Tai McClung went through a gaping hole on the right side of the Indians' line and sprinted 61 yards for a touchdown. The first of Andre Sallade's nine extra-point kicks made it 7-0.

A quick three-and-out got Ole Miss the ball back and an eight play, 87-yard drive took 3:39 off the clock before sophomore Carson Campbell scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns from 11 yards out. Campbell carried the ball just six times for 73 yards and added touchdowns from 35 and 16 yards on the ground along with a 47-yard TD catch from Andruw Cruz.

McClung carried just three times but amassed 90 yards on the ground and scored the final touchdown of the first quarter on a 26-yard jaunt.

Collectively the Indians rushed the football 33 times for 316 yards and seniors Drew Castanon, John Hall and Gage Peterson along with freshman Hayden Nelson all scored a rushing touchdown. Cruz and Ethan Bennett each completed 2-of-3 passing attempts, Bennett for 56 yards including a 30-yard TD to Kaden Cole, and Cruz for 55 yards and his strike to Campbell. 

The Indians defense limited Elwood to just one first down and a net total of 14 yards, minus-22 on the ground, and forced four turnovers.

Mississinewa (3-0) goes to Eastbrook (1-2) on Friday.

Eastbrook 58, Madison-Grant 0 

After scoring 26 points total in losses to Marion and 4A No. 10 Delta, the Panthers put 30 on the scoreboard in the first quarter against the Argylls.

Eastbrook scored on seven of its eight first half possessions on the way to a commanding 51-0 halftime lead before the running clock took effect in the second half.  The Panthers were aided by excellent field position and ran 42 of their 45 first half plays in Argylls' territory.

The Panthers amassed 330 of their 415 yards rushing in the first half. Wyatt Stephenson led the way with three scores in the first half while running for 82 yards on 15 carries.  Isaiah Dalton rushed for 114 yards and a pair of scores while Zeke Binkerd picked up 61 yards and also found the endzone. Backup quarterback Alden Miller added a 22-yard scoring run for Eastbrook. Logan Collins scored Eastbrook's second half TD on a 26-yard run.

Madison-Grant picked up just 73 yards and three first downs in the first half.  Damon Hasty caught a 23-yard pass from Jackson Thompson as a portion of that yardage.

The Argylls and two extended drives in the second half, Thompson’s 30-yard run keyed one, while a 26-yard run by Clayton Powell spurred the other. Both drives stalled deep in Panthers' territory.

M-G (0-3) goes to Alexandria on Friday.

Blackford 21, Oak Hill 12

For most of the game, Oak Hill's defense did an admirable limiting rush Blackford's rush heavy wing-t offense. But two big runs and a long drive yielded all the points the Bruins needed.

Dalton Willmann scored on an 80-yard run in the first quarter to open scoring and quarterback Caleb Mealy capped an nine play, 80 yard drive late in the third with a 2-yard run giving Blackford a 14-0.

 

After failing to complete a first half pass - 2 potential touchdown passes dropped - a composed Clay McCorkle used a trio of receivers to get Oak Hill back in the game. McCorkle found Tristen Hayes for back-to-back fourth quarter touchdown passes of 37 and 27 yards that cut the deficit to 14-12 with 3:42 left.

 

Bruins' senior running back Isaac Justice delivered the biggest blow with just over two minutes remaining, with a 45 yard run to put the game away.

McCorkle completed 12 of his 22 second half attempts for 218 yards and Hayes hauled in four receptions for 104 yards. Kian Hite added five catches for 76 yards and Mason McKinney finished with 27 yards and two catches.

Oak Hill (0-3) hosts Elwood on Friday.