Columbian faces another tough test

Columbian is at home tonight for the first time this season.

It figures to be a tough game.

The Tornadoes welcome Anthony Wayne to town. The Generals are coming off a 44-7 drubbing of St. Francis de Sales in Week 1, and off a trip to the Division II regional finals a season ago.

“They bring a really good team to town, coming off a really good year last year, and they handled their Week 1 opponent very handily,” Columbian coach Judd Lutz said of the Generals. “(They) looked very impressive in their scrimmage film. They’re looking to have a really, really good season, and have gotten off to that kind of start.”

The Generals flexed their muscles last week by piling up 429 yards of total offense, 256 rushing. Tailback Max Guitteau had a big hand in the Anthony Wayne assault, rushing for three touchdowns and 136 yards. Quarterback Max Denman also had a big day, throwing for 173 yards in the win.

Lutz said the Generals are impressive in the trenches.

“They’re really good-sized up front,” he said. “They’ve got big guys who are really physical. What stands out to me offensively, is they’re going to run the same core concept of plays. They’re not trying to fool you with what they’re doing. They just want to really execute at a really high level.”

Lutz is hoping the Tornadoes defenders step up a bit. He said the team needs to finish plays better than last week in the loss to Elida.

“Defensively, we want to tackle better in those one-on-one matchups,” Lutz said. “Get guys down, not lunge.”

Lutz said the Anthony Wayne defense is solid.

“Defensively, they’re just very, very sound,” Lutz said. “They don’t blitz a lot, they don’t bring a lot of pressure, they just trust their athletes to play really good, sound football and fly around.”

To counter that, Lutz said it’s important for the Tornadoes to establish a ground game. A season-long problem in 2016, the Tornadoes ran for 173 yards last week — 152 of those yards came from quarterback Todd Simonds.

“We want to get the run game going, definitely, and execute better on third down,” Lutz said. “And often, that starts with doing a little better on first and second down. Those are the big key things we’re looking to do better in Week 2, here.”

Lutz said he’s pleased with Simonds, who is one of the team captains.

“He gave us a really good shot last week,” Lutz said. “We’re really proud of the way he played, and where he led in certain situations, but he can improve as well. As he raises his play, the guys around them will continue to raise theirs. He’s definitely got to be a leader on the field, and a coach on the field, and demand excellence from his teammates.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Frost-Kalnow Stadium.