Brian Colatruglio couldn't stop heaping praise on a Columbian running back in the aftermath of the Tornadoes 35-21 win over fellow unbeaten Bellevue Friday night.
No, not the one you're probably thinking of.
"Ryan Lynch blocking," Colatruglio said, "might have been one of the biggest things in this game."
But what about his running? Lynch rushed for 110 yards, after all. And Jack Jacoby gave another Jack Jacoby-like performance, going for 119 yards, rushing for three touchdowns and throwing for another.
"(Lynch) knocked people down," Colatruglio said. "He controlled the game with his blocking as much as his running."
For Lynch, it just was another day at the office.
"I'm just doing my job; my job is to protect Jack," he said. "I do it."
While Lynch and his offensive line was doing their job, Columbian's defense managed to - as much as a team can - contain Bellevue quarterback Jalen Santoro. Santoro ran for 86 yards, two touchdowns and and threw for another TD. But a crucial few minutes at the end of the first half turned the game around.
With Columbian driving and leading 13-7, Jacoby was dragged down in the backfield and lost the ball. A Bellevue defender picked the ball up and was headed for a likely touchdown, but the officials ruled Jacoby down. A few plays later, Jacoby ran for his third touchdown of the game, and Columbian led 19-7 with 3:39 left in the half.
"It was a 14-point swing," said Bellevue coach Ed Nasonti, whose team fell to 5-1, 0-1 in the Northern Ohio League.
The coach said he thought Jacoby had fumbled the ball, but added some qualifications to that opinion.
"I'll be the first to say I'm biased and I have to watch the tape," Nasonti said.
Santoro answered TC's score with one of his own, a 5-yard run with 1:22 left in the half to make it 20-14. Things looked even better for Bellevue when its defense forced a three and out and got the ball back with 52 seconds left.
But the Redmen fumbled the ball on the ensuing offensive snap, and Columbian pounced on it. Soon after, Mike Rohrbach found Jordan Dye in the left corner of the end zone for a 20-yard score. Jacoby ran in a conversion, and the Tornadoes went to the break up 28-14.
"We've been on the bad end of those plays sometimes," Jacoby said. "Making those big plays really makes a difference in these kind of games.
Columbian got the second half kickoff, and took four plays to add to its lead. Jacoby found Donovan Walker in the right side of the end zone from 21 yards out.
Bellevue managed just one score - a fourth-quarter Santoro-to-Trent Stamm touchdown completion - in the second half.
Isiah Moore, one of Columbian's lineman said TC's (6-0, 1-0) dominance came from a good week of practice.
"All week we practiced on doing everything right," Moore said. "We came out here with a game mentality, and just pushed (Bellevue) around and won the line of scrimmage."
And the game.