Columbian to take on option-based Willard

The formation is different than anything Columbian’s defense has seen this season, but what the Tornadoes will use to combat it is the same.

The phrase is “assignment sound.”

Columbian travels to Willard tonight to take on a squad that has lost five of its first six games. The Flashes do, however, have a wrinkle on offense.

The triple option.

“They’re a unique offense,” Columbian coach Brian Colatruglio said. “It’s kind of the Navy option offense. They force you to be pretty vanilla on defense and to be assignment-oriented. You have to make sure you have all three phases of the option taken care of, every single play. That’s a little bit of an adjustment and defensively, we have to be able to stick to our assignments.”

The Crimson Flashes, coached by Mark Matula, recorded their only win of this season against Bucyrus in September. In that contest, Willard ran the ball on 55 of 66 offensive plays. Dylan Caudill ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns.

Colatruglio said it’s important for the Tornadoes to keep getting better. He said last year, he felt his team played its best game Week 6 against Bellevue.

Last week, Week 6 of the 2013 season, Columbian beat Bellevue.

Colatruglio wants to avoid a repeat.

“Last year I think we peaked against Bellevue, I think we played our best game of the season in Week 6,” Colatruglio said. “That’s not a very good job by myself, the coach, to have our team peaking in Week 6. We should have been peaking in Week 11-12. I don’t know that we did.”

So how does Colatruglio plan to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

“We’re gonna push these guys hard,” he said. “I feel like I’ve got the best coaching staff I’ve had since I’ve been here. We’ve got a great group of guys who work hard and know the game. We’re gonna push.”

It’s hard to see how Columbian’s defense can get much better. The Tornadoes have allowed just 70 points through six games, and even that total is deceptive: Clyde scored on a pick-six against TC, while Norwalk returned a kickoff.

“We haven’t given up big plays,” Colatruglio said. “A couple against Norwalk, but we haven’t given up those long touchdowns. The last couple of years, we’ve probably overall played as good defense for nine plays, then (we’ve) given up a 60-yard touchdown. We haven’t done that.

“We have more experience on the back end; I think Nate Hoyda is playing really, really well at safety, and our tackling has been really good.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.