FOOTBALL: Kats set for NCC opener against Berries, other Week 3 previews

Sep. 1—The North Central Conference will have a new look next year. Harrison and McCutcheon are in their final year in the NCC after the conference voted them out. Arsenal Tech is leaving by a mutual decision between the school and the conference. And Logansport is fleeing to the Hoosier Conference.

Thus, the NCC football championship this year carries a little more significance as the final title before the conference's uncertain future.

Kokomo certainly hopes to win it. The Kats have 19 NCC titles all-time with their last coming in 2016 when they shared it with Harrison and McCutcheon. Kokomo fell a game shy of winning a share last year.

The Kats begin NCC play tonight against visiting Logansport at 7 p.m. at Walter Cross Field. It's the 98th meeting in a series that Kokomo has dominated both recently and all-time.

"It's one week at a time," Kokomo coach Austin Colby said of chasing the NCC title. "It's definitely a goal of ours. We don't get to play one of the better teams in the conference this year with Harrison, but that's out of our control. We don't pick who we get to play in the conference, it's just the way it rotated this year. We can just control who's on our schedule each week.

"Hopefully we go out and take care of business and we finish the year with that title."

Kokomo is ranked No. 2 (IFCA) and No. 3 in the Class 4A state polls following victories over Leo and Class 5A then-No. 2 Whiteland. Kokomo rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Leo 16-14 and then beat Whiteland 27-13.

"The last five quarters of football we've played, I think we've played really well," Colby said. "I'm just super excited about where this team is headed and how we've practiced so far. We didn't have a letdown at all this week even though we're not playing a ranked team for the first time all year."

Logansport is 0-2. Peru beat Logan 42-28 in Week 1 and South Bend Adams edged the Berries 23-22 last week.

Colby said Logan showed improvement last week and he is expecting the Berries' best shot tonight.

"Coach [Mike] Johnson always has a great defensive game plan to stop what we do," he said. "We're so comparable on offense that a lot of the terminology carries over between our two teams. That oftentimes proves for a low-scoring battle as last year was. He will have them ready, there's no doubt in my mind."

Kokomo beat Logan 14-0 last season for the Kats' 15th straight win in the series. All-time, Kokomo holds a 71-23-3 lead in the series.


The Bombers (2-0) visit the Panthers (0-2) for a non-division matchup of Hoosier Conference teams. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

Rensselaer edged Kankakee Valley 28-27 in Week 1 before rolling past Class A team North Newton 53-0 last week.

Western dropped games to Class 3A Top 10 teams Tri-West and Western Boone to open the season. The Panthers need a win tonight to avoid their second straight 0-3 start to a season.

The teams are meeting for the first time since 2020. They met twice that season with Western winning both times — 33-14 in a non-division game and 49-42 in the conference's third-place game.


Northwestern (0-2) makes the trek to Benton Central (1-1) for a non-division matchup of Hoosier Conference teams.

Northwestern is coming off a 60-31 loss to Eastern. The Tigers played well in the first half and trailed by just two at halftime before turnovers derailed their chances.

BC beat Delphi in Week 1 before falling to Seeger last week.

The Tigers and the Bison last met in 2021 when the Tigers took an 8-6 win in the Hoosier Conference's ninth-place game.


The Comets (1-1) visit the Oracles (0-2) in the opening week of Hoosier Heartland Conference play.

Eastern bounced back from a 34-19 loss to Oak Hill in Week 1 to thrash Northwestern 60-31 last week. Delphi dropped games to Benton Central and Delphi to open the season.

Eastern beat Delphi 49-0 last season for its fourth straight win in the series since the Oracles joined the HHC.


Taylor beat Fort Wayne Blackhawk Christian 33-0 last week for its first win of the season.

Now, the Titans face demanding tests in back-to-back weeks as HHC play begins.

Tonight, Taylor (1-1) visits Class A No. 4 Carroll (2-0). The Cougars opened the season with a pair of dominant wins — 59-0 over North Newton and 62-0 over Riverton Parke. They are one of five teams in the state that opened with back-to-back shutouts.

Next week, Taylor visits Eastern. The Comets have beaten the Titans seven straight times.


In a promising Three Rivers Conference game, league newcomer Cass (1-1, 1-0 TRC) visits Peru (2-0, 1-0). When the teams played in the old Mid-Indiana Conference, which folded after the 2014 season, Cass won all 17 matchups against Peru.

Also in the TRC, Maconaquah (1-1, 1-0) visits Northfield (0-2, 0-1).

Tipton (1-1) hosts Class 3A No. 5-ranked West Lafayette (1-1) in a non-division matchup of Hoosier Conference teams. West Lafayette split games against Class 5A teams Harrison and McCutcheon to open the season.

Tri-Central (1-1) hosts Class A No. 9 Sheridan (1-1) to begin HHC play.

Bryan Gaskins is the Tribune's sports editor. He may be reached at or 765-454-8567.