Columbia High snapped a four-game losing streak last Friday with a 54-29 victory over visiting Ilwaco on the next-to-last weekend of the 2008 SWW 1A Trico Division football season.
The victory--CHS's first in league play in four starts--evened the Bruins' season record at 4-4.
"This gets us back on track to complete one of our goals of having a winning season," Bruins Coach Matt Whitmire noted. "And right now, all we're focused on is getting win number five."
It was a focused Columbia High team that took the field for last Friday's Senior Night game in Bruin Stadium.
When all was said and done, Columbia had racked up 433 yards of offense, thanks to a dominant performance by the CHS offensive line that enabled Kevin Kreps, Jenson Ladiges and Carlos Mendoza to run for six touchdowns and more than 100 yards apiece.
"We were able to run the ball at will," Whitmire said. "And the 54 points were the most by a CHS team since the 56 it scored last year against Stevenson."
Kreps had career highs in rushing yards (152) and touchdowns (4), Ladiges ran for 163 and two scores, and Mendoza posted a career-best 111 yards and two TDs.
The Bruins scored on their first three possessions--the last two set up by interceptions by Ladiges and Connor Warner--with drives of 81, 44 and 32 yards to build a 21-0 advantage.
Ilwaco (0-4, 2-6) rallied in the second quarter, however, putting together scoring drives of 69 and 63 yards that culminated in a pair of David Sinor touchdown passes.
Columbia regained control of the game late in the half, though, with a 63-yard march that Kreps capped with his second touchdown run--this one covering 6 yards--to put CHS on top, 27-16.
The Bruins broke the game open in the third quarter with a 34-yard scoring drive on its second possession and a 63-yard drive on its third. Ladiges finished off both movements with touchdown runs of 30 and 13 yards.
Kreps closed out the scoring for Columbia with scoring runs of 39 and 35 yards in the fourth quarter. His fourth TD of the night came with 7:33 to play, after Ilwaco had pulled within 47-29 on Sinor's third touchdown toss, and second of the game to Justin Short, who finished with nine catches for 185 yards.
Sinor ended up 19 for 31 for 279 yards, with one interception, as the Fishermen were forced by the Bruins' stingy run defense to rely mostly on their passing attack.
Ilwaco mustered just 9 rushing yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. Moreover, the Fishermen turned the ball over three times, the last one coming on an interception by Ladiges on the second play of the second half's opening series, after Ilwaco had recovered an onside kick at the CHS 39-yard line.
Columbia travels to Stevenson tomorrow night for its annual Gorge rivalry game. The Bulldogs (1-3, 2-6) are coming off a 46-20 loss to Kalama.
"From an offensive standpoint, Stevenson is probably the most improved team in the league from week one to week nine," Whitmire said.
The Bruins' keys to victory, he said, "will be controlling the ball and finishing our drives in the end zone, and keeping the ball in front of us and preventing big plays."
Kreps led the CHS defense with 14 tackles, including 11 solo stops. "Kevin wore a cape on Friday night," Whitmire said, pointing to Kreps' outstanding two-way performance.
The Bruins' boss also praised the play of seniors Adam and Josh Tippel.
"They've been huge for us the last three weeks after missing the first five games," Whitmire said of the first-year CHS players. "It's nice to see those guys be able to come in and contribute."