Muncie Central running game not enough in Homecoming loss to Arsenal Tech

Despite being helped by several penalties and turnovers throughout the game, Muncie Central (0-5) couldn’t stop big plays in the second half as Arsenal Tech (4-1) rolled to a 48-14 victory Friday on the Bearcats’ Homecoming night.

“We’re right here at the hill. We just have to jump over that next hurdle,” Lee said. “If we could have gotten a little more momentum going forward, maybe the game would have been a little bit different.”

This is the fifth time in the last six games Muncie Central has lost its Homecoming game with its last win coming in 2017. Before that, the Bearcats hadn’t won a homecoming game since 2013.

“Tonight was irritating,” sophomore Shoka Griffin said. “But at the end of the day, we still have to work hard.”

The first half went as good as it possibly could have gone for the Bearcats. Running backs dominated the Bearcats play calling. Griffin finished with 100 yards and a touchdown, and senior Michael Goul had 37 yards and a score.

“Our linemen did a great job tonight — holding their blocks, doing their assignments. They just did great,” Griffin said.

They Bearcats were on the verge of tying the game at the end of the half thanks to an interception by junior Da’Marion Walker with 29 seconds left. Unfortunately for the Bearcats, junior quarterback Max Pittman threw an interception of his own as time expired, and Muncie Central went into the locker room down, 14-7.

While the Bearcats managed to hold the Titans to just 14 points in the first half, they gave up 34 unanswered in the second.

“I thought we had them on the ropes there for a second,” Muncie Central head coach Darrick Lee said. “They came out in the second half, and that’s what good teams do.”

On the second play of Arsenal’s first drive, it found the end zone on a 64-yard touchdown. After a quick three-and-out by the Bearcats’ offense, the Titans again scored on the second play of their next drive with a 53-yard touchdown pass from senior Cailer Bridges to sophomore Jamarii Bibbs to take a 28-7 lead. The Titans never looked back.

Lee said his team’s strategy for next week is to get back to the drawing board.

“Kokomo may be 0-5, but I know their coach. I know their kids. I’ve known that guy for a long time,” Lee said of Kokomo head coach Richard Benberry. “Looking at the record — The record is what the record is, but you still got to come out and line it up and play football.”

One thing is for sure next Friday at Kokomo: either Muncie Central or Kokomo will earn its first win of the season while the other will be winless with three weeks left before sectionals.

Contact Evan Weaver with any comments at erweaver@bsu.edu or on Twitter @evan_weaver7.

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