Columbia High maintained football dominance over intra-county rival Goldendale with a 29-6 season-opening victory there on Friday.
Returning junior quarterback Austin Charters ran for 144 yards and three touchdowns and the Columbia High defense didn’t allow a touchdown in the season opener for the fourth year in a row.
“Our goal defensively was to prevent any score and we were successful in that regard,” second-year Bruins Coach Dan Smith said. “Offensively, we need to be more consistent. We had a couple of drives that we were able to sustain and execute; others, we got behind the sticks because of penalties and missed assignments.”
The Bruins led 14-0 at halftime and 14-6 through three quarters of play after the Timberwolves’ Corbin Bland re-turned his second of two interceptions 80 yards for 6 points late in the third quarter.
Columbia put the game away in the fourth quarter thanks to touchdown runs by Charters and Cody Colloton. CHS finished with 363 yards of total offense.
Colloton and Bowen Durkee each had four tackles, and Durkee had an interception as well, to lead the Bruins’ defensive effort, which limited the Timberwolves to 108 yards.
“I was pleased with how our defense played as a whole,” Smith said. “Other than Goldendale’s first offensive series, our defense was pretty effective at getting off the field. We had a few issues with penalties toward the end of the game that allowed them to sustain a drive deep into our territory but were able to keep them out of the end zone.”
Smith also praised the play of CHS’s special teams and the role they played in the victory.
“Special teams-wise, I felt we were effective. We scored every PAT. With the exception of our first kickoff, we played our lanes well and limited any big returns. We can do a better job in our return game, both kickoff and punt, but I was pleased with the special teams play overall.”
The Bruins received the opening kickoff and needed only a handful of running plays to cover 65 yards for the game’s first touchdown, which came on a 3-and-11 run by Charters from his own 34.
On the ensuing possession, Goldendale marched deep into Columbia territory before turning the ball over on downs at the CHS 20 with 6:37 remaining in the first quarter.
Columbia went on a long, time-consuming drive of its own that carried over into the second quarter and into Goldendale’s red zone. Bland prevented the Bruins from scoring when he intercepted a fourth-down pass in the end zone and returned it to his own 10-yard line with 10:08 left to go before the intermission.
After a handful of possessions by both teams that went nowhere, the Bruins got the ball back at their 42-yard line. Their 58-yard scoring drive culminated in a 9-yard run by Charters. Zavier Smith booted the point-after try to make it 14-0 with 37 second to play in the first half.
CHS was on its way to extending its lead to three scores late in the third quarter when Bland picked off a pass near his own 20 and weaved his way through traffic for a 6-pointer that trimmed Columbia’s lead to 14-6.
“I was most proud of the way we responded offensively after Goldendale’s pick six. That could have been a huge momentum shift and we didn’t allow that to happen by driving down the field and punching in another touchdown.”
In the fourth, the Bruins tacked on rushing TDs by Colloton at 10:01 and Charters at 4:22 to push the lead out to 29-6. Durkee’s interception near midfield at the 9:47 mark set up CHS’s final scoring drive.