Kokomo resumes season after tornadoes and gets first win

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KOKOMO, Ind. (WTHR) - Before taking the field Friday night, the Kokomo High School football team took a walk around the Wildkat statue in the stadium’s main entrance. Players tapped the Kat, one even pretended to kiss the Kat. The pregame ritual signaled the return of Kokomo High School football and symbolized the town getting back to normal after tornadoes ripped through Howard County last week. Kokomo beat Marion 21-12 for the Wildkats first win of the season.

Kokomo (1-1) was supposed to play Hamilton Heights at Lucas Oil Stadium August 26. That game was canceled along with two days of school after the August 24 tornadoes. The two teams spent last Friday afternoon helping the cleanup effort in Kokomo. Last Saturday, the teams were recognized before the Colts preseason game at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Friday night’s game with the Marion Giants was one of the first big community events in Kokomo since the tornadoes nine days ago. A beautiful night at beautiful Walter Cross Stadium stood in stark contrast to the storms last week that destroyed or damaged the homes of about 100 students.

“I just am really proud of this community,” said Kokomo High School principal Angela Blessing.

“I wasn't here for the first tornado, but to see the community come together again after what had happened a couple years ago, and to see these same students who are seniors who went through this their freshmen year is really unbelievable. They have just instinctively known what to do to try to help their classmates. To watch 21 hundred students kind of come together and say we can help this community, we can help this neighborhood, we can help this organization has really been kind of amazing.”

Canned goods and non-perishable food items were collected in a trailer at the entrance to the stadium for the Kokomo Rescue Mission’s tornado recovery warehouse. The Marion Giants presented a donation check at midfield before the coin toss to help their Kokomo neighbors.

School resumed Monday. Friday the Wildkats resumed their season with an opening drive three yard touchdown run by Brodie Smith. Keenan Wheeler added a two yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter. The 14-0 scored held until halftime.

Kokomo added a touchdown late in the third quarter for a 21-0 lead. Marion scored twice in the fourth quarter. Dontae Henderson ran in from 48 yards and Thomas Stone added a two yarder. But both conversions failed for the 21-12 final score.

Kokomo has beaten Marion (1-1) 10 straight years.