What a difference a week can make.
Taylor Champion and Devin Dean combined for 384 yards rushing and seven touchdowns as Columbia High bounced back from a season-opening defeat with a 46-13 non-league victory over Medical Lake here last Friday.
Champion finished with a career-high 231 yards and four touchdowns, while Dean ended up with 153 yards and three scores for the Bruins, who dominated the visiting Cardinals on both sides of scrimmage.
Defensively, Columbia held Medical Lake to 30 yards rushing in 28 attempts and didn't allow a touchdown until 2:42 remained in the third quarter.
"The emotional part of the game, something that was missing against Goldendale, was there in full force," Bruins Coach Matt Whitmire said. "And once we began scoring it was `Katy, bar the door.'"
After a scoreless first quarter, Columbia scored five touchdowns--three by Champion, two by Dean--in the second and built a 32-0 lead by halftime. (CHS's second and third TDs came after fumble recoveries inside Medical Lake's 30-yard line; its fifth score followed a blocked punt.)
"Those things that went against us last week went our way this week," Whitmire said of the breaks that helped the Bruins put the game away in the second quarter.
The other key to CHS's victory, he added, was the play of Kyle Yeager and Carlos Mendoza; both sat out the Bruins' season opener.
"Getting Kyle and Carlos back was the difference in our performance between week one and week two," Whitmire said. "Having them in the lineup was a huge boost, probably more so emotionally than physically."
Yeager, CHS's starting center, and Mendoza, who voluntarily moved from tight end to tackle for the game, brought stability to an offensive line that made it possible for Columbia to rush for 420 yards.
"With Kyle back at center, we didn't have any issues with the center-quarterback exchange like we did against Goldendale," Whitmire said. "And Carlos' willingness to play tackle allowed us to move Devin (Dean) back to fullback, where he was just about unstoppable."
Dean scored on runs of 8 and 14 yards in the first half and from the 2-yard line with 10:46 remaining in the third quarter.
His final touchdown came four plays after the second-half kickoff, which caromed off a Medical Lake player and into the arms of CHS's Jarin Ladiges at the Cardinals' 48-yard line.
Dean set up his short scoring run with a 37-yard gain on third-and-one from Medical Lake's 39.
Champion, who ran for 213 yards at Medical Lake in 2006, got his touchdowns on runs of 20, 12, 29 and 89 yards. The big run came in the fourth quarter, after the Bruins' second-string defense forced the Cardinals to turn the ball over on downs at the CHS 11.
"Taylor and Devin are a potent one-two punch. We call them our `Thunder and Lightning package,'" Whitmire noted. "And we'll keep Devin back there as long as we can keep our offensive line healthy."
Last Friday's game started an hour earlier than usual, at 6 p.m., to accommodate Medical Lake's travel needs...Champion led CHS with nine unassisted tackles, while Dean and Yeager each had seven solo stops...Said Whitmire of Yeager: "As the defensive tackle, Kyle either drew or beat a double team on every play. He made a real nuisance of himself"...Medical Lake standout Joe Wilson, who ran for 220 yards and two scores in last year's meeting, was limited to -3 yards on four carries last Friday; he didn't play after halftime due to an undisclosed injury.
The Bruins (1-1) begin Trico Division play tomorrow night at Kalama. The Chinooks improved to 2-0 last Friday with a 49-14 victory over Washougal.
"Kalama is good. They don't have a weakness," Whitmire said. "We know nobody is giving us a chance (to win the game), but we'll go in there and give it our best shot."