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Bruins dominate in season-opening win

Senior back Zach Walker runs for some of his career-high 156 yards last Friday during Columbia High’s 41-0 non-league victory over visiting Goldendale. Walker also rushed for three touchdowns.

Photo by Sverre Bakke
Senior back Zach Walker runs for some of his career-high 156 yards last Friday during Columbia High’s 41-0 non-league victory over visiting Goldendale. Walker also rushed for three touchdowns.

Dominant. Efficient.

Those words best described Columbia High’s performance in its season-opening football victory over Goldendale here last Friday.

The Bruins won every phase of the non-league game on their way to a 41-0 result and consecutive wins over their intracounty rival for the first time in Bruins Coach John Hallead’s tenure.

Hallead-led teams are now 3-2 versus Goldendale. Hallead said before kickoff last week, “This is a crazy series. The home team has won every game since I’ve been here. We’re going to change that tonight.”

Columbia did just that, scoring six offensive tourchdowns and piling up 359 yards on 40 plays, for a nearly 9 yards per play average.

The CHS defense turned the Timberwolves over six times, intercepting three passes and recovering three fumbles, while limiting the visitors to three pass completions.

Senior Zach Walker led the Bruins ground game as he rushed for single-game ca-reer highs in yardage (156) and touchdowns (3). It was the second 100-yard game of his career. He also caught a pass for 14 yards to finish with 170 total yards from scrimmage.

Senior quarterback Austin Bucklin also played at a high level last Friday. He completed 9-of-11 passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns (both to Chandlor Bucklin, covering 50 and 15 yards, respectively).

Austin Bucklin spread the ball around, connecting with five of his receivers.

Chandlor Bucklin finished with three catches for 77 yards. Trenton Howard also had three receptions, which gained 28 yards.

Austin Bucklin, moreover, ran twice for 44 yards and a touchdown.

Standouts for the defense included junior cornerback William Gross and junior linebacker Tylan Webster.

Gross intercepted two passes in the first half. The Bruins converted the second into a 7-0 lead, when Walker found the end zone from 15 yards out on CHS’s second possession of the night.

Webster had a team-leading five solo tackles, to go with three assists and two fumble recoveries. Sophomore linebacker Cesar Isordia chipped in with three solo tackles and three assists.

“Our keys to victory were to force turnovers, win the field position battle with special teams (big returns, pin them deep on punts and kickoffs), and establish the run game by gaining over 200 yards on the ground,” Hallead said. “This in turn would open up our passing game by getting Goldendale to commit to stopping the run.”

The Bruins racked up 221 yards on the ground in 29 attempts, and averaged 7.9 yards per carry. In the passing game, Bucklin averaged 12.5 yards per attempt.

Columbia led 14-0 in the second quarter when Howard intercepted a down-field pass in CHS territory. On the ensuing drive, Austin Bucklin converted the turnover into six points with a 28-yard run.

The Bruins took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter when Bucklin the quarterback found Bucklin the re-ceiver wide-open down the left sideline. Senior Eduardo Oriz kicked the point-after.

Walker closed out the first half with a 1-yard run that helped make it 27-0.

CHS opened the second half by receiving the kickoff. The Bruins worked their way down the field in short order, with Walker carrying the ball the final 15 yards to paydirt.

Moments later, Golden-dale fumbled and Webster made the recovery. A second Bucklin-to-Bucklin scoring connection, this one from 15 yards, boosted CHS’s lead to 40-0.

Oriz capped the scoring by booting his fifth point-after in six tries.

Coming up: The Bruins host the Elma Eagles for a non-league game in Bruin Stadium tomorrow night.

Elma dropped its season-opener at Eatonville last weekend, 35-8.


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