MICHIGAN CITY | In the offseason, Bryant Isabell worked on turning around his reputation as a runner.
"He's an incredibly hard worker," Merrillville football coach Zac Wells said. "He kind of had a reputation last year of being a big bruiser. The best part about him is that he's worked on his break away, and I think you saw a lot of that tonight, he was able to break away. He worked a lot in the offseason on his speed and that's why he's getting these really large chunks of yards."
Isabell worked on his core, his speed and busting out of the pack.
The senior running back amassed 198 yards, including six times in which he ran for 10 or more, in the Pirates' 56-9 win over Michigan City on Friday.
"We did a lot of lower body workouts, upper body workouts and built a strong core so that I can really go on the field," Isabell said. "I've picked up a lot of speed. The last game I was off a little bit, but coming into this game I felt confident we had a good game plan. Coach said run hard and I ran hard."
Michigan City had no answer for Merrillville's speed.
On offense, on defense, or just trying to stop Isabell.
Isabell had 150 yards rushing in the first half, part of Merrillville's 345 first-half yards.
The Pirates (4-1, 3-0 DAC) ran all over Ames Field during Michigan City's homecoming, taking a 35-0 lead before the Wolves (2-3, 0-3) scored with 5.4 seconds remaining in the half.
Isabell had two of those first-half touchdowns and three overall.
Quarterback DJ Wilkens, leading what is still considered a young offense halfway through the season, had 165 yards passing with two touchdowns.
"We played well tonight," Wells said. "We've had a lot of shooting ourselves in the foot in the last couple weeks. We limited a lot of those mistakes and played a more complete football game.
Michigan City (2-3, 0-3) recorded a safety in the last three minutes for its second late score of the game.
James Lane III saw the ball mostly in the second half and led the Wolves with 48 yards rushing. Quarterback Ryan Washington had 86 yards passing on 8-of-19 tries. He threw his team's only score to Donovan Wilson.
"We want to be humble about it, Michigan City played a good game, we played a good game," Isabell said.