Whatever ailed Columbia High's football team got remedied--at least temporarily--by last Friday's 39-0 trouncing of Hockinson.
After being lit up for 81 points and 1,102 yards in two previous games, the Bruins' defense held the first-year Hawks to 226 yards of total offense while recording its first shutout of the season.
Their offense, for its part, racked up season-highs in points and total yardage (385), helping CHS even its Trico Division record at 1-1 and snapping a three-game losing streak.
"We needed the pick-up (in confidence) because it's been almost a month since we had that positive feeling" that comes from winning, Bruins Coach Scott Ross said. "We needed something to get us going and this game did that, and put us right back into the playoff hunt."
He added that the victory--which came at the midway point of 10-week regular season-- was the result of "a total team effort."
"Everybody came to play and everybody who suited up did play," Ross noted. "The intensity on the field and on the sidelines was infectious; the players did a really nice job of supporting and rooting for one another."
The Bruins, who lost the coin flip, gladly took the opening kickoff and marched in for their first touchdown, which came on a 28-yard run by junior quarterback Mike Charters 1:54 into the first quarter.
After a defensive stop, CHS got the ball back and drove for another score.
Senior wingback Jon Bryan capped CHS's second series of downs with a 25-yard scoring run and junior place kicker Sebastian Alvarez's second point-after boot made it 14-0 at the 8:39 mark.
By quarter's end, CHS had built a 20-0 lead, with its third touchdown coming on a pass play of Charters to senior tight end Josabet Pulido that covered 44 yards.
"I think it was important for us to be able to mix the run with the pass, and to have success doing both," Ross said.
The Bruins rushed 48 times for 294 yards and completed 3-of-8 passes for 91 yards.
Bryan led the ground corps with a career-high 159 yards on 21 carries. Charters finished 3 of 7 in the passing game for two touchdowns and no interceptions.
Pulido was Charters' main target, catching two balls for 52 yards and two scores.
"We did what we wanted to do, and that was to come out, take care of business early and get a comfortable lead," Ross said. "Doing that let us play our younger kids quite a bit so they got the chance to experience playing under the Friday Night Lights."
Columbia took a 26-0 lead into its locker room at Nautilus Field--where Hockinson was making its debut--after senior fullback Alex Riley bulled in from the 3-yard line with 2:46 to go in the half.
The Bruins increased their advantage to 32-0 late in the third quarter when Charters hooked up with Pulido again, this time from 8 yards out.
After that, with the game firmly in hand, Ross pulled his starters. And, when its turn finally came, the second-string offense of mostly junior varsity players went in with strict instructions to keep the ball on the ground.
"We could've thrown the ball; the opportunities were there, but there was no point in doing that," CHS's coach remarked. "We didn't want to pile up the points."
The second-string offense didn't score but it moved the ball enough to keep Hockinson's defense honest.
Moreover, the back-up defense held its own and preserved CHS's first shutout since Oct. 5, 2001 (a 40-0 win over Castle Rock).
"No matter who we put in there, we played good, fundamentally sound defense all night," Ross said.
No single player amassed a ton of tackles but, as a unit, the defense intercepted four passes and forced three fumbles.
Sophomore defensive back Mason Giovanonni stood out, picking off two passes to increase his team-leading total to four.
Columbia's last interception--by defensive lineman Jarin Ladiges--came in the fourth quarter during a fierce pass rush by freshman lineman Eric Viramontes.
Viramontes had Hockinson's Max Schantz all but wrapped up for a sack when the quarterback made an ill-advised attempt to throw the ball away.
Ladiges plucked the free ball out of the air and rumbled 70 yards for his first career TD and the game's final score with 4:59 remaining.