Don’t make them angry
Columbian’s future opponents should take note: Don’t score on the Tornadoes. It upsets them.
Midway through the first quarter, Shelby quarterback Lucas Bihl connected with Coalton Webb, who broke a tackle and raced 54 yards for a touchdown. After a two-point conversion Shelby led Columbian 8-7.
Three offensive plays and 1:04 of game time later, Columbian was back in front and never looked back. The Tornadoes cruised to a 62-20 victory.
“Any team that scores on us, it just fires us up,” defensive tackle Codey Chance said. “Our defense is (sound), when we want to be. But there’s a lot of hard work and dedication. I got to give a shout out to our D-line. We’re the ones in the middle, we don’t get a lot of attention but in the end, it’s mostly the D-line because we work hard.”
The Columbian defensive front made it tough for Shelby to find running room all night. The Whippets rushed 40 times for only 105 yards, with the bulk of that coming in the fourth quarter with the starters on the bench.
But, it wasn’t just the Columbian defense that got mad. The offense got fired up as well.
“They made us pretty mad,” Columbian’s Ryan Lynch said of the team’s mindset after giving up the touchdown. “It wasn’t like they actually drove down there and made the play. We missed a tackle. I feel like that falls on our shoulders because we messed up.”
Nate Hoyda took the ensuing kickoff to Shelby’s 40. Three handoffs to Lynch and Columbian was in the end zone.
Lynch rushed 15 times for 140 yards and four scores before leaving after one drive into the third quarter with his team up 49-14. Spencer Franklin rushed for two scores and 79 yards. Donovan Walker also added a touchdown on the ground.
Columbian benefited from the return of lineman Isiah Moore, who missed last week’s game against Willard. The TC line opened up gaping holes that Lynch and the other Tornado backs ran through.
“We blocked really well tonight,” Columbian coach Brian Colatruglio said. “Having Isiah back makes everything look smoother for us, and Ryan ran really hard tonight. We count on that run game to get us going and get us started, and that all starts up front for us.”
Lynch credited his line, and the team’s improved passing game as factors in his big night.
“Our offensive line pretty much dominated tonight; it was their game,” Lynch said. “With Isiah back it helped a bunch. Now that we’re throwing the ball every week and were getting better on that, then it opens up more opportunities for me to run the ball. They’re not only worried about me, they’re worried about everybody. There’s not one person on the team that can’t make a good play.”
Columbian also got a big boost from its special teams. Cody Kimmet returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown, which came after running one back to the Shelby 10 earlier in the night.
“Tonight’s about special teams,” Colatruglio said. “That’s the best we’ve looked this season on special teams. We scored two special teams touchdowns, had another punt return down to the 10-yard line. I give a lot of credit to those guys. We try to play a lot of guys on special teams, those are guys that don’t play every down for us. When they get their chance, they go out and execute.”
TC’s second special teams touchdown came off a punt block. Chance didn’t so much break through the Shelby line, but rather pushed his blocker all the way back into the Whippet punter, causing the punt to go backwards, into the end zone where Columbian’s Derek Dryfuse fell on it for a touchdown.
“That was pretty unique. I wish he would’ve saw the ball, it would’ve been awesome for him to score the touchdown,” Colatruglio said. “But it’s just an effort play. We kept our defense out there. He gives full effort all the time and he just pushed the kick right back into him.”
“Just hard work and I got a good hit on him and it went from there,” Chance said describing the play. “I didn’t realize it until everybody was yelling at me. ‘The balls in the air,’ and I’m looking around I was like ‘why are you yelling at me?’ Then, oh, there it is rolling around in the end zone.”
Shelby coach Erik Will said the special teams plays illustrated the numerous mistakes his team made on the night.
“We had the punt return for a touchdown. We had one of our own guys get blocked into the punt,” he said. “When your trying to fight and claw, and get back into a game and compete in a game, and you realize that you’re just not quite as talented as the other team, you can’t shoot yourself in the foot with costly mistakes.”
Will said his team was able to get things going early, but mistakes mounted and showed his team how far it needs to go to get to where it wants to be.
“It’s some of those things, we wanted to establish some things and we had some things going early,” he said. “We just continue to shoot ourselves in the foot. Tiffin’s the class of the league right now. There’s no doubt about it. … Tonight I felt like we did compete, we never gave up. Tiffin’s just a program where we would like to be and it’s good because the underclassmen got a taste and saw ‘This is where I have to get to.'”