Chalk up another win for Columbia High in its Klickitat County Cup series with Goldendale.
The Bruins opened the 2018 football season in Bruin Stadium last Friday with a resounding 53-0 victory over the Timberwolves that extended their winning streak in the series to four games.
Columbia won last year’s game at Goldendale, 47-0.
This year, CHS mounted a 47-0 halftime advantage for first-year Bruins Coach Dan Smith after tallying its seventh touchdown with 2 seconds to go on the clock.
A running clock in the second half, per the WIAA’s 40-point lead rule, sped the action to its undeniable climax.
Despite the lopsidedness of the contest and the final score, Smith found words of praise for the Bruins’ opening-night performance.
“Overall, I was pleased with how we performed as a team,” Smith said. “We started slowly on offense. I think the first-game jitters had a hand in some bad snaps that stalled our first two drives.”
Once the Bruins got those miscues out of their system, “our offense began to click and we were able to execute offensively rather successfully.”
The Bruins averaged better than 10 yards per carry as they rushed for 343 yards and five touchdowns in 32 attempts.
They added 68 yards and two touchdowns with their passing game.
“We expected to come out and establish the run, put them in third-and-long situations, and create turnovers,” Smith said, and added, “I am proud of how our team responded after two slow possessions.”
The Bruins got contributions across the board in gaining more than 400 yards of total offense.
Senior Chandlor Bucklin scored four touchdowns in his final home opener. He rushed 53 yards for the first score of the game, returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown, and caught two first-half TD passes from new starting quarterback Austin Charters.
Bucklin finished with 88 rushing yards and 53 receiving yards on only five touches.
Charter ran six times for 89 yards and two TDs, and completed 4-of-6 passes for 68 yards, with no interceptions.
Senior Trenton Howard and sophomore Dylan Hain-line each ran for a TD. They combined for 86 yards on the ground in 13 carries.
Senior linebacker Cesar Isordia led the Bruins’ shut-out effort with seven tackles. Junior defensive end Alarick Blankenship made five stops and tallied one quarterback sack.
Sophomore cornerback Eli Nielsen also recorded an interception for the CHS defense, which also logged tipped passes by senior defensive end Hunter Harmon and junior tackle Cody Colloton, who racked up three tackles.
“Defensively, we had some alignment issues early on, and we were able to settle down and communicate to get those straightened out,” Smith said. “The biggest thing was our D-linemen figuring out how to deal with Goldendale’s cut blocks.”
During the fast-moving second half, Smith gave his starters a breather and played back-ups and JV players throughout most of the final 24 minutes.
“That experience will be invaluable to us as the season progresses,” Smith said.
Lastly, he said, “As always, we saw some things to clean up on film.”
Coming up: The Bruins are at Ilwaco tomorrow for a non-league game against the Fishermen of the Pacific 2B League’s Coastal Division.
Ilwaco opened 2018 with a 23-12 non-league win over Vernonia, Ore. It scored two TDs on passes and another off a blocked punt return.
“Ilwaco runs a double-slot, double-wing style of offense. They have some big backs and like to pound the ball,” Smith analyzed. “Defensively they bring a lot of interior pressure with blitzing linebackers. It will be imperative for our O-line to maintain blocks and pick up blitzes for us to be successful. I think we match up with them well defensively and should be in good shape if we execute assignments. Ilwaco has been more successful lately and we will need to play efficiently to come out with a win after a four-and-a-half hour bus ride.”