CLYDE - Talk about a launch to the 2012 Columbian season.
Nate Hoyda needed less than 10 seconds to dart down the field after catching the opening kickoff of Friday night's game with Clyde. He blasted through a seam in the TC blocking, and left the Fliers' in his wake.
It was barely 7:01 p.m., and Columbian led Clyde, 7-0.
"It's my 17th year coaching I've never had that happen before," said Columbian coach Brian Colatruglio. "That's pretty exciting. And what that does, it just calms your nerves."
"I saw my blockers; they're big, they're not hard to miss," Hoyda said, "I just cut it right up the middle."
Columbian didn't have a number of sustained drives in Friday's 27-7 win over the Fliers. What it did have was a number of big plays that continually kept it out in front of a Clyde team that kept things reasonably close until the fourth quarter.
Among the game-definers:
n On a second and 11 from deep in his own territory, Columbian wide receiver Donovan Walker took a misdirection handoff and did an Usain Bolt impersonation, going 84 yards for the Tornadoes' second touchdown.
"We talked all these guys that are first-time starters, and who's going to step up," Colatruglio said. "There's two guys (Hoyda and Walker) that were JV players that make two huge plays to get us going."
n After Clyde broke through with a Brad Smith touchdown run to make it 13-7 at the half, Columbian's defense turned the momentum on the first play of the second half.
Clyde QB Paul Cullen tried a throw to his right, but Ryan Lynch snagged it and took off down the sideline, going 45 yards for a touchdown and a 20-7 edge.
"I think it's luck, because defense I don't think is my specialty," said Lynch, who is TC's primary running back. "You've got to come out hot. You've got to come out fast, knowing you have to hit them and not let them hit you. And I did my job."
n After being contained for most of the first three quarters,
Jack Jacoby finally broke through with a 67-yard touchdown run with 5:37 left in the contest.
Jacoby ran for 128 yards in the win.
"We have the big-play capability, as you can see," Jacoby said. "Our offense is built to wear people down, and trust our line, and we definitely did."
Columbian gave a strong defensive effort, holding Smith - Clyde's best offensive player - to just 38 yards rushing. TC also picked off Cullen three times, with Walker and Vince Anway joining Lynch with picks.
"This was definitely a group effort, in every respect," Jacoby said.
It wasn't a perfect night for Columbian. Quarterback Mike Rohrbach looked good most of the night, but threw a pair of interceptions (though one was at the end of the half), and the Tornadoes also lost a fumble.
But overall, there was plenty for Colatruglio to be pleased about.
"We have some learning moments, some teaching moments there," Colatruglio said. "And in Week One, you want those after a win."