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Castle Rock 40, Columbia High 14

Rockets blast past Bruins

A preemptive offensive strike in the first half propelled the Castle Rock Rockets past Columbia High's Bruins, 40-14, here last Friday.

Castle Rock, winless in its first three games, took control of the Trico Division game on the opening drive, going 66 yards in 11 plays for a 7-0 advantage.

After being stopped at the CHS 20-yard line on their second series, the Rockets scored on their next four possessions and built a commanding 34-0 lead.

Castle Rock (1-1, 1-3) finished its first victory of the season with 460 yards of total offense, 17 first downs and a lopsided advantage in time of possession.

Its defense held Columbia's offense to 134 yards and nine first downs (three of which were the result of Castle Rock penalties), forced six punts, and recorded three takeaways.

The Bruins (0-1, 1-3) prevented a shutout on the last play of the first half when senior quarterback Jon Bryan--in relief of junior starter Mike Charters--flung a 53-yard scoring strike to senior Will Brasuell in the end zone.

Columbia's other touchdown--a 3-yard run by Bryan late in the third quarter--followed senior Daniel Hankin's recovery of a Castle Rock fumble at the Rockets' 25-yard line.

"Castle Rock was much more physical than us. They dominated us on both sides of the ball in the first half," Bruins Coach Scott Ross said. "They didn't do anything we didn't expect, but they executed their game plans better than we did."

The Rockets scored on drives of 66, 47, 53, 62 and 24 yards in the first half and capped the night's scoring with an 11-play, 96-yard march in the fourth quarter that consumed 4:19 of the game clock.

Columbia, for its part, moved the ball more effectively in the second half, but found the end zone just the once.

The Bruins' first drive of the third quarter reached the Rockets' 35 but ended with a fourth-down interception by Castle Rock's Brandon Swanson.

Their next possession was killed by two fumbled center-quarterback exchanges. And their last two series came up short after Bryan was sacked for big losses on third and fourth down respectively.

"We weren't able to move the ball the way we did the week before (against Montesano)," Ross said, placing part of the blame on missed blocking assignments. "When you get right down to it, we just don't match up very well with big, physical teams."

Next up:

Columbia visits Hockinson this Friday for the first-ever Trico Division meeting between the two schools. Kick off is set for 7 p.m.

Hockinson is winless in three tries and has scored just one touchdown in its inaugural football season. Columbia will be looking to halt a three-game skid and pick up its first Trico win.

Ross said this week's practices will focus on "getting back to the basics" and setting a tone for the final five weeks of division play.

"We have to decide as a team what we want to accomplish these next five weeks," he said. "We've got some problems to fix on offense and defense, but they're problems that can be fixed."

Playing a young team like Hockinson, Ross added, gives CHS the opportunity to "get better at what we're supposed to be doing because after this week it's going to get tougher and tougher."

Following Hockinson, Columbia travels to Stevenson, hosts La Center for homecoming, goes to Ridgefield and finishes Trico play at home against Woodland.

"The door is still open for us," Ross said. "We only have the one loss. But this will be a critical game for us to make some progress so that when we meet the better teams down the road, we'll be better prepared to compete."

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