Sunday, September 5, 2010

Tide wins, Tide wins

photos by Pat Kreider
One game down and one win in the books for the 2010 Columbia football team
The Tide broke an 11-game losing streak Friday night with a 43-24 win at the "Dust Bowl" on the hill over cross-river rival Eastern York.
Outside of the opening drive of the game and the third quarter, the Tide showed its dominance in breaking a two-year losing streak to the Knights.
On that first drive of the game, the Knights started from their own 25. On the second play of the game, quarterback Mark Holloway broke up the middle for 63 yards to the Tide 17. Five plays later, the Knights went ahead 6-0 on a 1-yard run by Alex Cooley, but the Knights botched the PAT and only led 6-0.
Back roared the Tide. Out of its "gator" offense, the Tide needed 13 plays to reach the end zone for the first time this season. With 5:13 left in the opening quarter, first-year starting quarterback Tyler Harrison found Michael Burke IV on a fade for a 30-yard score to deadlock the game.
Actually, the Tide scored twice on the drive, but the scores were negated first by a holding penalty and later by a procedure penalty.
With all the makings of an offensive show, the Knights then drove to the Tide 38 where they were faced with a fourth and 23. The Knights tried to punt but the snap sailed over punter Eric Moore's head fora 37-yard loss.
That gave the Tide the ball at the Knight 25. After a big run by burly fullback Dominic Trout, David Wells gave the Tide its first lead in 14 games with a 5-yard run. Seth Lefever's 2-point pass to John Markley gave the Tide a 14-6 lead five seconds into the second quarter.
After the two teams exchanged punts, Eastern put three points up on the scoreboard with 5:24 left in the half on a 21-yard field goal by Moore.
But the Knights had no answer for the Tide's offense. Harrison threw his second scoring strike of the game, a 9-yard pass to Burke and with 2:55 left in the half, the Tide led 21-9.
Eastern was forced to punt again and the Tide took over at midfield. It didn't take long for the Tide to score as Harrison found Lefever for his third score of the half from 13 yards with 46 seconds left in the half to give the Tide a 27-9 lead.
There might have been another chance for the Tide to put up some points as Eastern muffed the ensuing kickoff at the one. But there was no chance for the Tide to record a safety.
The third quarter belonged to the Knights.
They scored on their first offensive play of the half on a 73-yard run by Mitch Leratonda and on their next possession drove 45 yards in eight plays as Cooley scoed on a 3-yard run. All he sudden with one minute left in the third quarter, Eastern trailed 27-24.
The game was suddenly  in doubt.
That douby ended four minutes into the fourth quarter. Back-up running back Brock Taylor sprinted 25-yards for a score and the Tide was ahead 33-24.
Taylor was just getting warmed up.
Three minutes later, he took an option pitch from Harrison and raced 72-yard for a score. All the sudden a game that was in doubt, wasn't as the Tide led 39-24.
Now it was the defense's time to shine.
After Eastern muffed another punt at the 1, Trout rushed Holloway and forced an intentional grounding call in the end zone for a safety 14 seconds later.
It was the first of two safeties in the final in minutes. On their next possession, the Tide were forced to punt. The center snapped sailed out of the end zone for anothe safety, making the final 43-24.
And as the final seconds counted down, there were plenty of reasons to celebrate at the "Dust Bowl."