With a toss from quarterback Mike Charters to wingback Mason Giovannoni, Columbia High's 2005 prep football season got off to a running start here last Friday.
Giovannoni and running mate Andrew Culp combined for 428 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Bruins to their third-straight, season-opening victory over the Goldendale Timberwolves.
Giovannoni rushed for a career-high 218 yards and four touchdowns and Culp tallied a personal-best 210 yards and two scores as the Bruins defeated the Timberwolves, 40-20.
Columbia finished the non-league game with 505 yards of total offense--all on the ground.
"In 15 years, I've never been involved in a game where a team I was coaching had 500 yards of total offense, let alone 500 yards rushing," said Bruins Coach Matt Whitmire, whose team made sure his CHS head coaching debut was a victorious one.
Columbia's coach attributed the Bruins' success running the ball to solid execution of blocking assignments at the point of attack.
"What you saw (Friday night) were kids buying into our system; we call it `Blocking For Your Buddy,'" Whitmire said. "One of the things I like about this team is that it has some chemistry to it."
Culp capped the game's opening drive with an 11-yard run that came 2 minutes, 10 seconds into the first quarter.
Giovannoni got the honors on the Bruins' next three scoring drives, taking it in from 1, 10 and 4 yards out. Columbia High led, 28-0, at halftime.
The Bruins held the Timberwolves scoreless until 4:44 remained in the third quarter.
Nick Dohrman punched it in from the 4-yard line to finish off a short Goldendale drive that began at the CHS 10 and was set up by Daniel Sanchez's 75-yard fumble return.
Columbia quickly countered, however, putting together a 65-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 3-yard run by Culp with 2:08 left in the third quarter.
The Bruins' biggest lead (40-6) came with 11:24 to go in the game, when Giovannoni scored from 14 yards out at the end of a 61-yard drive.
Goldendale quarterback Shane Bare, who passed for 140 yards, hooked up with T.J. Lund for a 53-yard touchdown pass with 7:25 left, then scored on a 1-yard plunge with 40 seconds remaining to complete the scoring.
Giovannoni and Josh Burrell led the CHS defense with nine and eight solo tackles, respectively. Culp, who recorded four unassisted tackles, also intercepted a pass, which he returned 42 yards.
This Friday, Columbia High hopes to build on momentum from its victory over Goldendale when it hosts Naches Valley, which beat CHS, 22-0, last season.
Naches Valley opened the 2005 season with a 21-6 non-league victory over Wapato.
"They're the ones who, literally, physically pummeled us last year," Whitmire said of the Rangers. "Our kids know they will be in for a stiff challenge."