MUNCIE — All season, Andre Wells was the workhorse for the Central’s offense, a 6-foot-2 power back who rumbled through defenses.
So it was no surprise that facing fourth-and-2 late against Class 5A No. 4 Kokomo, Central coach Adam Morris elected to give him the ball in what would be the final Bearcat play of a 20-15 sectional loss to the Wildkats.
After all, it was Wells who tore off a 52-yard touchdown with just over three minutes left in the game, and then dragged defenders into the end zone on the ensuing two-point conversation to give his team the lead. He finished the game with 212 rushing yards.
So when Wells was handed the ball, facing that fateful fourth-and-two from the Kokomo 41 and was overwhelmed by several Kokomo defenders two yards behind the line of scrimmage, Morris wouldn’t have changed a thing.
“You have to go with the person who got you there,” Morris said. “He’s made the plays all season and we had to go with his number, we’ll live and die with him.”
Central and Kokomo played a scoreless first quarter, highlighted with Central turning the ball over on down inside its own 10-yard line. It wasn’t until Kokomo quarterback Kyle Wade found Jordan Matthews for a 31-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone that the scoring began.
For much of the game, Central controlled a potent Kokomo double-wing offense that destroyed opponents all season. Kokomo finished with just 191 yards on the ground compared to 487 when the teams matched up earlier this season.
Marcelle Kenner added another touchdown for Kokomo going into halftime. The Bearcats defense was getting stops overall, but the offense wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain. With just less than 10 minutes left in the game, Central’s Xavier Cleaves scored from six yards out, cutting the Kokomo lead in half.
So when Wells’ touchdown scamper and 2-point conversion gave his team a 15-14 lead, there was hope among the Central faithful that the Bearcats would win, even after Kokomo quickly worked downfield and finished the drive with a 12-yard touchdown.
“We played with more intensity, instead of just a couple players making plays, everyone was,” Wells said. “We put everything in, we perfected it, it just came up a little short.”
Four yards short from a first down to keep the season alive, to be exact.
Contact prep sports reporter David Polaski at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @DavidPolaskiTSP.