Tornadoes tear up?Willard

WILLARD – The way Columbian’s defense has played this year, many teams would be excited to score a touchdown off it.

But TC safety Nate Hoyda said they shouldn’t be.

All it does is make the Tornadoes angry.

“If they get into the end zone, our team gets into it,” Hoyda said. “We get pumped if they get into the end zone.”

Maybe that explains Friday’s events in Willard. Columbian raced out to a 14-0 lead on a 55-yard strike from quarterback Donovan Walker to Josh Flint and a 6-yard Ryan Lynch run.

Willard responded with a 12-play, 65-yard drive that stretched into the second quarter. Dylan Caudill ran in a touchdown from a yard out, and TC’s lead was sliced to 14-7.

Willard didn’t come close to scoring again, and the Tornadoes improved to 6-1, 4-0 in the Northern Ohio League with a workmanlike 35-7 victory.

Columbian was stout on defense, with junior lineman Joey Moore coming up with two tackles for a loss. The Tornadoes also recovered a fumble.

“All these players stepped up,” Columbian running back/linebacker Ryan Lynch said of the team’s defense. “[Linebacker] Pauly for sure, he’s the hardest hitter on the team, and we’re all doing our job and we’re getting the plays done.”

Lynch had a typical game for him, in that he ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns. But also impressive was the emergence of the Tornadoes passing game. Walker was sharp all night, completing 15 of 20 passes for 255 yards and three touchdowns. One of his favorite targets was Flint, whose score came on TC’s first play from scrimmage.

Flint, a senior, said he hasn’t played football in years. But he looked like a natural Friday, with four catches for 93 yards.

In his postgame comments, Colatruglio suggested it was the first touchdown caught by Flint “in his life.”

“That is 100 percent true,” Flint said. “I played in, like, seventh grade, but that was the only year I ever played. I wasn’t a big part of that team so I didn’t stick with it.”

But he’s become a big part of things now, as have a number of other receivers. Walker completed passes to seven different teammates. Cody Kimmet was has favorite target, with five catches for 71 yards and a 20-yard fourth-quarter touchdown.

Derek Dryfuse also was key, with a 31-yard TD catch and 60 yards overall.

“It’s fun calling plays,” Colatruglio said. “We don’t think about ‘this person,’ we just call plays, and we know they’re all good.”

Willard was led by quarterback Logan Blanchard, who ran for 119 yards. The Flashes, who have just one win this season, were disciplined, not committing a penalty and keeping things reasonably close in the first half. At the break, Columbian led 21-7.

“I don’t take anything away from our kids effort, I thought we battled the whole game,” Willard coach Mark Matula said. “I think athletically, there were times we didn’t match up in space. You’ve just got to tip your hat to the other guy.”