Through six games of the 2011 football season, there have been a lot of interesting things happen to the Columbia Crimson Tide football team Prior to Friday's Homecoming game with Northern Lebanon, the Tide had not played a home game on Friday night.
They had not had their starting quarterback since the first half of the season opener.
And they were really only not in one game this season, their first loss of the season three weeks ago against Class AAAA power Daniel Boone. There was the dramatic comeback against Boiling Springs two weeks ago and a dominating performance last week against Elco.
Those were the team highlights. The individual highlights have been many as well. Far too many to list.
Friday night in the second Section 3 game of the season, there were the first 23 minutes, 59 seconds and the final 24 minutes and one second. It all added up to a 42-26 by the visiting Vikings.
The Tide, who won their league opener a week ago over Elco, was one of three unbeaten teams (standings-wise) in Section 3. Northern Lebanon was the other and the team, which will take a huge effort to beat, Lancaster Catholic, is the other.
Columbia dominated most of the first half.
It was senior leadership and the stellar play of two of their big guns that got the Tide off to a big start. Those two big guns are seniors Seth Lefever and Michael Burke. On the Tide's first 11 plays, which was a 70-yard scoring drive, the two had their hands in all 11 plays. Lefever (11-13-0, 145), completed three passes to Burke and one to Will Kreiser and ran six plays. Burke also ran the ball once for 16 yards and a score that put the Tide ahead 6-0 as the PAT was blocked with 5:59 left in the opening period.
And on the Vikings' first series as they were most of the first half, the Tide defense did its job and NL punted. Three plays later, Lefever and Burke combined for a 54-yard catch and throw and then Burke caught a two-point conversion from former starting QB Tyler Harrison, who was seeing his first action since the Eastern opener. With 3:21 left in the first quarter, the Tide was rolling, 14-0.
On the kickoff, Nick Nobile recovered a Viking fumble, but the Tide couldn't convert and punted. Again, the Tide defense came up big and on their next possession, the Tide fumbled, their first turnover of the night.
Northern Lebanon again had trouble moving the ball, thanks to a couple of major penalties. It looked like the Tide had another scoring opportunity wiped out by a series of penalties. Columbia's next score was set up by a Lefever interception of Tanner Dresch, which began a Harrison to Lefever score covering 26 yards to give the Tide a 20-0 lead with just under three minutes left in the first half. And for the second time in the first half, Columbia had its PAT blocked.
That's when Northern Lebanon got a little momentum. Behind the running of Dresch, Ryan Daub and Colton Ryan, the Vikings got on the scoreboard when Dresch fired the first of his two touchdown passes to Oscar Maysonet, this one covering 27 yards and at the break, it was a 20-7 score.
The second half was a much different story. The Vikings scored on their first possession of the half on a second throw and catch from Dresch to Maysonet. The big play on the drive was a 15-yard roughing the passer penalty against the Tide on a third down incomplete pass, which allowed the Viking drive to continue.
Now a 20-14 game with a little more than eight minutes left in the third quarter, things were getting a little tight. After being forced to punt, the Tide's defense came up big again. Burke picked up a fumble and scampered 35 yards for a score. After missing their third PAT of the game, the Tide again was up two scores.
But on the ensuing kickoff, Daub sprinted 87 yards with the football for a score and all the sudden, the Tide's lead was down to 26-20 with five minutes still left in the third quarter.
Still no problem as the Tide, back on offense moved right down field. They were faced with a third and two at the Viking 25 and got one yard. On fourth down with 11.3 seconds left in the quarter,. Lefever was stopped just short of the first down, giving the ball back to the Vikings.
Fifty-four seconds into the fourth quarter, Daub broke off a 69-yard run, up the middle and for the first time in the game, the Vikings led, 27-26.
It still wasn't much of a problem, until the Tide coughed up the football on a pass completion, giving the ball back to NL near midfield. And, with every play on the ground, the Vikings went up nine points Another second half turning point was on the ensuing kickoff. The Vikings opted for a pooch kick, which caught the Tide flat-footed and they recover. Three plays later, Ryan busted one 39 yards for the final score of the game with 3:46 left.
Columbia tried again to score, but had a pass picked off with two minutes left.