Columbian hopes to excel on road against Spartans

After winning two of its first three games — both at home — Columbian travels to Toledo tonight in search of its first road victory in more than two years.

“It’s big. You’ve got to be able to travel,” Tornadoes’ coach Judd Lutz said. “Even in our conference games, away games just aren’t right down the road. You’re hopping on the bus, you’re traveling a little bit. Being able to get off the bus and have great energy on the road and come up with a win in somebody else’s backyard is always tough. We want to be able to do that and start that (today).”

Columbian will have to take down Toledo Start, a team that knocked off TC a season ago. The Spartans are 1-2, with losses to Clyde and Findlay sandwiched around a win over Swanton.

Start is coming off a 30-0 loss to the Spartans, but gave Clyde all it could handle in Week 1.

“They have some good players; they have good scheme,” Lutz said. “I think they’re very well-coached. They’re reigning City League champs, they beat up some teams pretty bad last year, and return a lot of those players and a lot of those coaches, so they have a good thing going.”

Start is led on offense by quarterback Caleb Coyne.

“We’ve watched the film, and obviously they have some players who stick out,” Lutz said. “We had a really good week of practice; we’re taking them very seriously, we want to keep our winning streak rolling. Obviously, going into their backyard, we know we’re gonna get their best shot. We’re ready to go.”

Start’s defense was solid in Week 2, holding Swanton to a single touchdown.

Columbian’s offense will look to keep its momentum from last week, when it rallied from deficits of 14-0 and 21-10 to beat Ashland.

“I think being consistently good in the running game, running it even when they know we’re gonna run it, really helps our offense as a whole, helps our passing game,” Lutz said. “And then, continue to make plays in the perimeter when they’re there. I thought we’ve been very opportunistic in that regard, when there’s throws to be made we’ve made them, and when there’s catches to be made we’ve made them, for the most part. We got a lot of guys on offense who are capable of being a great playmaker.”

Someone who was a playmaker last week was running back Nick Jackson. Jackson ran for a 37-yard touchdown against Ashland. He finished with 81 yards on the ground, which didn’t include a long scoring rush that was called back by a penalty.

“We know he’s a special talent, and we’ve got a plethora of running backs that are very capable, but he’s definitely a kid who’s been blessed with some great talent,” Lutz said. “He had a very good offseason and has worked his way into a great role. We want to keep him going for sure, and get him the ball in space.”

Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

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