Tornadoes try to right themselves after rare home loss

For the first time in the Brian Colatruglio tenure at Columbian, the Tornadoes are coming off a loss at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.

Tonight, the Tornadoes will be home again, this time facing a program they haven’t seen in many years, Maumee.

But Colatruglio said the teams aren’t complete strangers. Marc Gibson – the former coach at Clyde – is in his first season with the Panthers. The Tornadoes know Gibson (and Clyde, which beat TC last week) quite well, having gone up against him the last few seasons.

But it’s deeper than that.

“(Maumee is) a program we’re familiar with,” Colatruglio said. “We’ve scrimmaged them every year since we’ve been here, and obviously with coach Gibson going over there from Clyde, there’s a lot of familiarity there, and they’re similar to us -about the same size school, same type of kid, same size program – and I think it’s gonna be a real good matchup for us. I think it’s a good game for both teams, and hopefully we can start a little bit of a rivalry and compete with a top team from another league we don’t normally play.”

Like the Tornadoes, the Panthers are coming off a tough Week 1 loss. Maumee fell to Toledo Bowsher, 24-20, after grabbing a 13-0 advantage in the first half.

On offense, Maumee will be led by Brian Utter, who passed for 141 yards and ran for 30 last week.

Even though Columbian knows the type of offense Gibson ran when he was at Clyde, Colatruglio said things will be a little different at Maumee.

“It’s a little different, there’s a lot of spread stuff,” Colatruglio said. “They might have had some carryover to their staff; they’re doing some of the things they’ve done in the past, some of the things that Clyde’s done, so it’s kind of a mixture, and we’re familiar with them and their program, but we’re not really sure what they’re going to do and how they’re going to try and attack us.”

The TC coach said he was pleased with what his defense did in last week’s 13-7 loss to the Flyers. The offense was another story.

“We were very inconsistent offensively. We missed some blocks, got beat on some blocks, dropped some balls. When you add all those little things up, it leads to scoring seven points, and we wasted a great effort by our defense,” Colatruglio said. “Our defense gave up one touchdown. Your defense gives up one touchdown, you’ve got to win the game. We have way too much talent on the offensive side of the ball to be held to seven points. We’ve got to get that … a little bit of anger, a little bit of pride that we’re gonna put the ball in the end zone.”

Starting again for the Tornadoes will be Stone Simmons, who threw for 170 yards and had a touchdown pass last week in his first varsity start. He also threw a costly pick-six, but Colatruglio took the blame for that.

“He made some plays. He made some good throws, and the interception was on me. I put him in a bad spot, and the only … what looked like a bad play wasn’t even his fault,” he said. “He’s got to get his timing a little better yet, and we’ve got to be a little better on third downs. Most of our completions were early down, first-, second-down throws, and we weren’t really good on third downs.

“But he’s had a great week of practice and he’s bounced back just like the rest of our offense, and we look for him just to continue to improve,” Colatruglio said. “First time under the lights, I’m sure he was a little bit nervous, but he made some big plays and gave us a chance to win in the end.”

He’ll be facing a defense Colatruglio said is strong up front.

“They mix things up. They’ll play three and four down and are mostly a zone team. They’re big across the front,” Colatruglio said. “Clyde was a little smaller, had some quicker kids, and Maumee’s got some size up front. So it’s strength on strength. It’s going to be our O and D lines against their O and D lines and who’s going to establish the run and put points on the board and finish drives.”

Colatruglio was asked about the importance of getting a win and not starting 0-2, but the coach kept things in perspective.

“They’re all important,” he said. “You can’t take back what happened last week and you can’t worry about what’s gonna happen next week. We’re trying to go 1-0 this week. That’s all we can control and that’s all we can do. It’s Week 2.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.