In its first two games of the 2008 prep football season--both wins--Columbia High made its mark as a second-half team.
But in its last two games, the Bruins have managed just seven second-half points. Those points came last Friday on a 75-yard kickoff return by Jenson Ladiges and Felix Torres' point-after kick, during the third quarter of CHS's 30-14 non-league loss at Ridgefield.
Columbia's recent struggles--both offensively and defensively--are a cause for concern, said Bruins Coach Matt Whitmire, whose team opens SWW 1A Trico Division play tomorrow night against the Castle Rock Rockets (3-1).
"We just did not play well last Friday," Whitmire noted. "It was a disappointing setback but, regardless, it's a new season starting this Friday night."
Kickoff of tomorrow's homecoming game--which is taking place about three weeks earlier than normal--is set for 7 p.m.
"Castle Rock is an impressive football team," Whitmire said. "We're going to have to be on top of our game if we want to compete with them."
The Bruins (3-1) were anything but on top of their game last weekend.
They gave up a touchdown on their first possession when Ridgefield's Joseph Zadrozny blocked a CHS punt and Mike Oman recovered it in the end zone.
But after the inauspicious beginning, Columbia settled down on both sides of scrimmage and drew even on the scoreboard in the second quarter when Ladiges found Dylan Rabinowitz for an 11-yard touchdown pass and Torres booted the PAT.
The score remained tied at halftime and again at 14-14 early in the third quarter, after Ridgefield's Chandler Webb scored on a 30-yard run and Ladiges returned the ensuing kickoff.
But it was all Ridgefield from then on as Webb took to picking apart Columbia's defensive backfield. Webb threw for touchdowns of 14 and 9 yards in the second half to spur the Spudders on to victory.
"They had less than 50 yards of total offense in the first half, but then they came out in the second, recognized our Achilles' heel--our defensive back play--and took it to us," Whitmire said.
Webb went 7 for 11 through the air in the second half for 98 yards, to finish 11 for 19 for 150 yards with no interceptions.
Ladiges paced the Bruins' offense by rushing for 140 yards on 31 carries, passing for one score and catching one pass for 11 yards.