Tonight’s matchup (Class 5A state final)
Columbus East vs. Kokomo at Lucas Oil Stadium
Game time: 7:05 p.m.
Records: Columbus East 13-1, Kokomo 9-4
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Last week’s games: East beat Cathedral 42-13, Kokomo beat Michigan City 21-13
Series history: First meeting
Coaches: Bob Gaddis is 303-134 in his 39th year, including 185-34 in his 17th year at East; Brett Colby is 205-97 in his 28th year, including 90-30 in his 11th year at Kokomo
Gaddis on Kokomo: “They want to run the ball, and they’re tight in there with that offense, but they have the type of athletes that can spread you out and throw the football without putting new guys in the game. So if you’re trying to scheme your defense by who’s in, you can’t do that. We have 16 or 17 guys that we play defensively, and we do it situationally, but coach (Eddie) Vogel and our defensive staff is going to have to figure out how we’re going to get guys in position to stop both the run and pass.”
Colby on East: “You have to try to eliminate big plays. (Josh) Major and (Jamon) Hogan are full of big plays. We have to try to keep them in front of us, make tackles in the open field and not turn the ball over and give them short fields. If we can do that, maybe we’ll have a chance to be there in the fourth quarter and try to win it.”
What to watch for: The Class 5A No. 2 Olympians have been rolling with 12 consecutive wins, all by at least 24 points. The Wildkats have won five in a row, avenging two of their regular-season losses in the sectional. Both teams feature a wealth of experience, and East has several players who saw action in last year’s state final. Look for that factor to play a major role and for the Olympians to bring home their third state football championship.
Prediction: Columbus East 49, Kokomo 21