A 35-28, last-second loss to La Center last Friday dashed Columbia High’s hope of winning the 2018 1A Trico League football championship outright.
But all is not lost. The Bruins still have a chance to claim one-third of the title with a victory at Stevenson tomorrow night, on the final Friday of the regular season.
A CHS victory over Stevenson and a La Center win against Castle Rock would bring about a three-way tie and necessitate a Kansas Plan tiebreaker next Monday at Woodland HS.
“We have had the mindset of going 1-0 each week,” Bruins Coach Dan Smith said. “There is nothing that we can do about last Friday so our focus is on Stevenson and going 1-0 this Friday. This game is for a league championship, so it has a lot of importance in the league and for post-season seeding.”
Kickoff tomorrow is set for 7 p.m.
Columbia and La Center went down to the wire last Friday. The Bruins rallied from a 28-14 deficit for a pair of touchdowns in a 30-second span to pull even with 3:06 left in the contest.
La Center led 14-0 with 2:53 left in the first quarter but Columbia quickly countered with an 89-yard kickoff return touchdown by Chandlor Bucklin that helped cut the Wildcats’ lead in half.
The Bruins tied the score at 14-14 with 8:55 left in the second quarter when Cesar Isordia kicked the PAT following a 69-yard jet sweep by Bucklin.
After pulling within 28-21 on a 4-yard pass from Austin Charters to Isordia and another PAT, the Bruins recovered an onside kick at LC’s 41 with 3:31 to play.
Trenton Howard ran for 16 yards on first down and Chandlor ran it in from 24 yards out on second down. Isordia booted the PAT from 18 yards after CHS had been penalized 5 yards for a false start.
La Center got a good runback on the ensuing kickoff and began what would be the game’s final drive from its 41 with 3:01 showing on the clock.
The Wildcats converted on fourth-and-1 from the CHS 31, then overcame a 10-yard holding penalty that pushed them back to the CHS 40.
Twice La Center lined up for a game-winning field-goal try: from 25 yards on third-and-goal from the Bruins’ 7 and from 30 yards after a false start penalty.
Smith used up his remaining timeouts with 7 seconds left to freeze LC kicker Sean Fox. After the last time out, the Wildcats sent their offensive unit back onto the field for a final play.
LC quarterback Tom Lambert took the snap from shotgun, turned right, and threw a jump-ball pass to the near pylon. Andrew Scott out-leaped Howard for the pass and came down with it in the end zone with 1 second left.