Columbian charges past Generals
WHITEHOUSE – Maybe it was the public address announcer talking about Hellmann’s Real Whipped Tangy Dressing that made the Columbian defense so hungry.
Or maybe it was falling behind early to Anthony Wayne.
Whatever it was, the Tornadoes sandwiched the Generals Friday night, spoiling Anthony Wayne’s home opener like leftover deviled eggs, 28-6.
“It was just another great effort by our defense,” Columbian coach Brian Colatruglio said. “That’s three weeks in a row. We’ve given up two touchdowns and two field goals in three weeks and we did a great job. We gave up some yards. It was a little bit of a bend, don’t break defense. We’re taking a lot of pride of keeping teams out of the end zone. You hold a team to six points and you’ve got a pretty good chance to win the game.”
Columbian (2-1) handled the Wing-T attack with precision, holding the Generals at bay with 145 yards on the night.
On Anthony Wayne’s second drive of the night, the Generals marched 55 yards and Jake Hartbarger booted a 24-yard field goal to give the Generals (1-2) its only lead of the game.
Nate Hoyda responded with an 85-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff.
“At first, I thought I was just going to pick it up and get hit because it was a ball kicked on the ground,” Hoyda said. “But then I just saw all my lineman and no Anthony Wayne players anywhere at all. I just saw that and cut up the middle.”
The score led to a momentum swing that the Generals didn’t recover from.
“Our team got so inspired after that kickoff (return). Our momentum went so up and I think Anthony Wayne went down just a little bit because we scored the first touchdown and it was 7-3,” Hoyda said.
Colatruglio said Hoyda’s zippy return woke his team up.
“That really got us going,” Colatruglio said. “They had a real nice drive and then for us to answer right back (was big).”
Columbian scored on a 5-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter to make it 14-6.
On the next series, Hoyda halted the Generals drive with an interception at the Columbian 30.
“He had a great game on both sides of the ball. He made some plays on offense and made a great kick return,” Colatruglio said. “He’s a returning starter and our free safety. That’s a big part of our defense. He’s in the middle of the field and against a team like this, we ask a lot of him and he made some plays tonight.”
Two series later, the Generals took advantage of a Columbian fumble and drove 21 yards before Hartbarger booted a 21-yard field goal with nine seconds to go in the half.
“We got back within a score at half and felt pretty good,” Anthony Wayne coach Craig Smith said of the 14-6 halftime deficit. “I thought getting within one score, we were fine with that.”
In the second half, Columbian clamped down defensively, holding the Generals to two first downs and 54 yards.
“Our defense is amazing. I love our defense. We’re big on the line. Our defensive line is huge,” Hoyda said. “Our cornerbacks, they’re young, but they’re good. They can handle wide receivers.”
Smith said Columbian’s line was a difference maker in the game.
“They kind of got after us up front, especially in the second half, with their size and strength,” Smith said. “They controlled the line of scrimmage there late in the game. That’s a really good high school offensive line.”
Meanwhile, Stone Simmons showed the Generals he could hurt them too, throwing two touchdown strikes, including a beautiful fade in the back corner of the end zone that found a diving Cody Kimmet in the fourth quarter. Jace Hurt scored on a 29-yard strike in the third quarter.
“That kickoff return for a touchdown was a big play for them and their quarterback (threw) some nice balls tonight. I thought he had some nice passes that he hadn’t shown us the last two games,” Smith said. “Their quarterback, a sophomore, we saw him on film. Tonight, he made some nice passes when they needed it. He made some plays he hadn’t made up until now.”
Colatruglio said Simmons matured Friday night.
“Hopefully in the second half there, our young quarterback grew up a little bit,” Colatruglio said. “We needed him to make some plays on third and fourth downs and he made some big-time throws.”
Columbian didn’t leave the game without injury. Reid Vaughn was taken off on a stretcher and a series later, Trevor O’Connor was helped off the field. Colatruglio said depth helped them compensate for the losses on defense. He said he didn’t expect either injury to be long-term.
“We have good depth and we don’t play many guys on both sides of the ball,” Colatruglio said. “We’re young and we’re just a little bit inconsistent but we have guys that we can put in.”
Colatruglio said Friday could be a sign of things to come.
“It’s just a glimpse of how good we can be. We’re starting to show signs. We just have to tighten it up and we can be a pretty good football team,” Colatruglio said.