An inadvertent official’s whistle on the kickoff that followed Columbia High’s first touchdown last Friday cost the Bruins in more ways than one in its pivotal Trico League game at Kalama.
With Columbia leading 7-0 in the second quarter, a short kickoff by Gabe Guzman forced a Kalama player to call for a fair catch. The receiver fumbled the catch and the Bruins recovered in Kalama territory.
“However, an official blew his whistle early, creating an inadvertent whistle situation, which made us re-kick,” Bruins Coach John Hallead recounted. “I felt that if we had got the ball on that fumble, the end result would have been different.”
Instead, the host Chinooks took the re-kick and, though they didn’t score with the drive, they prevented the Bruins from building mo-mentum. Later, Kalama scor-ed touchdowns via a pair of fourth-down conversions and picked up a safety in be-tween en route to a 17-13 victory that snapped previously unbeaten CHS’s three-game winning streak.
“I honestly felt that we could have and should have won this game,” Hallead said. “Kalama is a very physical team that we matched up well with. It’s games like these that test our team’s will, character, and is a measuring stick for rebuilding program like ours. I was pleased with the way we faced adversity and didn’t retreat to bad or old habits.”
Still, the Bruins’ single-back spread offense got untracked only twice against a physical Kalama defense that made Columbia earn every yard and touchdown on a rainy night in Cowlitz County. As things turned out, both of CHS’s touchdowns came on fourth-down runs at the end of 15-play drives.
John Stephens scored the first on a 2-yard run and Guzman kicked the point-after to make it 7-0 in the second quarter. A 24-yard connection between Tanner Rabinowitz and Sam Rowlen set up the touchdown.
Trailing 17-7 in the fourth, the Bruins put together a 65-yard drive that began with six minutes left in the game. Stephens, who finished with a team-best 62 rushing yards, scored from 3 yards out on fourth down to make it 17-13.
Later, the Bruins forced Kalama to punt and got the ball back at their 21-yard line with 1:11 remaining. The po-tential game-winning drive ended on the second play when Kalama’s Elijah Ban-nister intercepted a Tanner Rabinowitz pass.
That was the Chinooks’ second interception of the night and the Bruins’ fourth turnover overall. Moreover, Columbia contributed to its demise with a fumbled snap in the third quarter that re-sulted in a safety and a 9-7 Kalama lead, and an 8-yard punt in the fourth that left Kalama with the ball in CHS territory for the start of its second touchdown drive with 10 minutes to go.
Four minutes later, Ban-nister scored on a quarterback keeper from the 10-yard line on fourth-and-2 to give Kalama a 15-7 lead. The Chinooks made it a two-score lead when they completed a pass for a two-point conversion.
For the game, Kalama outgained Columbia, 249 to 172, overall, ran 55 plays to CHS’s 53, and had a 191-96 advantage on the ground. In the early going, the Chinooks’ ground-and-pound attack burned up a lot of clock timewith offensive drives that failed to result in points. In the final issue, though, Kalama, with a bit of good luck, avoided the kind of costly turnover that could have altered the outcome in favor of Columbia.
Now, the Bruins must take the lessons learned from their first loss and get themselves ready for another game with playoff implications. Hallead remained optimistic about how CHS will rebound.
“I feel it woke our boys up and there is no doubt in my mind that they will regroup and reset their sights on qualifying for the playoffs by finishing strong,” Hallead said.
Coming up: Columbia (2-1, 3-1) entertains Trico leader La Center (3-0, 4-0) in Bruin Sta-dium tomorrow night. Kick-off is set for 7.
“Friday will be our greatest test at home, versus a very good La Center team that’s currently ranked in the top 10 in 1A state polls,” Hallead said.
The Wildcats took over first place in the Trico League last Friday with a 48-14 victory over Castle Rock.
“They bring a quirky pistol misdirection-based offense, as well as an attacking style of defense,” Hallead noted. “We will be tested to the maximum, but I feel we are in a better position this year to compete.”
Trico League game
Columbia at Kalama
Friday, Sept. 27
Bruins 0 7 0 6 - 13
Chinooks 0 7 2 7 - 17
Scoring summary 1st quarter
C - John Stephens 2 run (Gabe Guzman kick). Colum-bia 7, Kalama 0.
K - Jared Shagool 1 run (Elijah Bannister kick). Columbia 7, Kalama 7.
K - Safety. Kalama 9, Columbia 7.
K - Bannister 10 run (Hun-ter Esary pass from Isaac Truesdell). Kalama 17, Columbia 7.
C - Stephens 3 run (kick failed). Kalama 17, Columbia 13.
Total Yards: Columbia 53-172 (96 rushing, 76 passing); Kalama 55-249 (191 passing, 58 passing).
Rushing: (C) John Ste-phens 23-62-2 TDs, Tanner Rabinowitz 12-18, Nathan Bell 3-16; (K) Elijah Bannister 21-91-TD, Jared Shagool 14-65-TD, Colton Aschoff 10-27, Jasper Pulido 1-8.
Passing: (C) Rabinowitz 7-15-2-76; (K) Bannister 4-8-0-58, Shagool 0-1-1-0.
Receiving: (C) Gabe Guz-man 2-12, Sam Rowlen 1-24, Noah Carmichael 1-22, Ste-phens 1-9, Ryan Earls 1-8, Jaryd Quintero 1-1; (K) Hun-ter Esary 2-26, Maverick Johnson 1-18, Shagool 1-14.