Frankhauser returns, Tornadoes trump Arrows

TC braves weather, Ashland for first 3-0 start since 2012

ASHLAND — The phrase “Friday Night Lights” really came to life Friday in Ashland.

After a 3 1/2 hour lightning delay late in the first half, Columbian revved the intensity and execution back up to get out of Ashland with a 31-7 non-league win. The game started at 7 p.m. and ended about 12:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Tornadoes (3-0) led 21-7 late in the first with 3:49 left. Then a lightning bolt shined the dark sky, which automatically put the game in a 30-minute delay. Just add on three more hours to that and the delay was complete.

“To be honest, I think the mentality on both sides were that we’re here, we got the referees and it was a little over an hour trip … let’s get this thing in,” TC coach Judd Lutz said referring to the discussions during the lengthy weather delay. “They were very supportive of it and we were very supportive of it and I thought our kids were loose and having fun in the locker room.

“It got to a point where we were going to build a great memory. ‘Hey, remember that time we finished up the game whatever time it is?’ Hopefully we put a good ending on it and we did that. I’ve had some delays, but this is probably the top as far as length goes. Our support was awesome and that’s why it’s Tornado Nation.”

TC quarterback Chase Frankhauser added: “Definitely one of the most fun games I’ve ever been a part of. The locker room everybody knew we were playing, so we were trying to stay energized,” he said. “Coach Lutz came in and starting singing songs … we were ready to go when we needed to go back on the field.”

Before the delay, Columbian got off to a good start. On the second play from scrimmage, Nick Jackson took a zone read handoff and made a few Arrows miss on his way to a 58-yard touchdown run to put the Tornadoes up 7-0 just 18 seconds into the game. Jackson had 130 yards on the ground and caught three passes for 54 yards.

“He had some grown man runs tonight. He isn’t the biggest kid in stature, but he’s very explosive and very strong for his size,” Lutz said of Jackson. He plays with a lot of passion and obviously some good things happened up in front of him as well and he’d be the first guy to tell you that same thing. I was very proud of the way he played tonight and really all season. Another great game from him.”

The Arrows (0-3) tied the game up at 7 after a 24-yard TD reception to Jayden Jones from Mitch Heilman.

Early in the second period, Frankhauser, who returned from an injury in the preseason, took a QB keeper 65 yards to the end zone after a nifty maneuver on an Ashland safety pursuing.

On the Tornadoes’ following possession, Nick Koerper, who filled in for Frankhauser at QB, took the snap and ran in a 10-yard score to give TC a 21-7 lead with 4:47 left in the half.

TC’s LJ Reaves had an interception right before the half ended and picked off another later in the third quarter, which turned into a great defensive performance from Columbian’s defense

Frankhauser ran in a 28-yard TD in the third quarter on a scramble and Xavier Coppus nailed a 29-yard field goal in the fourth to secure the victory.

“It felt good (to be back at QB),” Frankhauser said. “I didn’t throw as well as I wanted to tonight, but since I’m not throwing well tonight I might as well scramble. That’s what I try to do.

“(Jackson) basically gave me that 65-yard touchdown because they were biting up on him so much all night, so I just snuck it out the back. Sometimes I was standing back there about 15 seconds because the line was doing a great job.”

Frankhauser overall threw for 203 yards and ran for 92. Koerper caught nine balls for 97 yards.

The Tornadoes are 3-0 for the first time since 2012, but there is still a long way to go this season.

“We are very excited to get off to a great start and be prepared for another good team next week, but we just have to keep trending upward,” Lutz said. “I think we are conituing to put together good weeks of practice and not staying satisfied.

“I love this team and I love the way they are getting after it every week in practice with the coaches preparing. We will see where this goes.”