Falling behind by three touchdowns in the first 4:55 of play last Friday was not part of the game plan for Columbia High’s homecoming game.
But that’s what happened as the Bruins fumbled on the first play of the game, failed to field a kickoff, and lost a fumble on a kickoff return.
Visiting King’s Way capitalized on those early miscues to take a 20-0 lead with 7:05 left in the first quarter.
The Knights parlayed that opening scoring blitz into a 26-16 victory that has put the Bruins in jeopardy of missing the Southwest District playoffs.
CHS lost a fumble on its first play at its own 30-yard line. King’s Way quarterback Mason Packer scored from the 1 at the 9:30 mark. The point-after kick made in 7-0.
King’s Way recovered the ensuing kickoff in good field position and scored on the next play, on a 41-yard pass from Packer to Bryson Metz that pushed the lead to 13-0 with 9:18 left in the first quarter.
CHS received the kickoff and made a good return before losing another fumble. The Knights jumped on the opportunity and extended their lead 20-0 on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Pack-er to Kobi Cason down the seam. Cason broke a few tackles on his way to the end zone.
The Bruins finally got their offense in gear late in the first quarter. Quarter-back Austin Charters got them on the scoreboard with a 43-yard run around left end at 11:27 in the second quarter. Zavier Smith’s PAT pulled CHS within 20-7.
Charters finished with 113 yards on the ground in 19 carries. King’s Way limited CHS to 163 total yards from scrimmage.
Columbia’s defense settled in after King’s Way’s big first quarter, but not before surrendering a fourth touchdown on a 2-yard run by Packer that put the Knights on top 26-7 with 6:11 to go in the first half.
That 19-point edge lasted all of 10 seconds as Alarick Blankenship returned the kickoff 63 yards down the visitors’ sideline for a second Columbia touchdown. Smith’s drilled the PAT to pull CHS within 26-14.
The only scoring of the second half came with 3:12 remaining in the third quarter. Columbia had King’s Way backed up deep in its own end and facing a second-and-6 play from its 8-yard line. The center snap sailed over Packer and into the end zone.
Defensive end Kegan Brasuell got to Packer first and wrapped him up. A few more Bruins piled on to complete the sack-and-safety that trimmed King’s Way’s lead to 26-16.
Columbia moved the ball down to the Knights’ 15 later in the quarter but the drive stalled. On fourth down, Smith elected to try a field goal from 32 yards in an attempt to cut the lead to one score. The kick fell short.
King’s Way snuffed out Columbia’s best drive of the fourth quarter with an interception. That was one of two drive-stopping first-half interceptions by the Knights, who lost their only fumble late in the second quarter.
Bowen Durkee recovered that fumble but the Bruins failed to capitalize on the break before the intermission.
King’s Way totaled 221 yards of offense on 57 snaps; 191 of them came via the pass as Packer completed 10-of-21 passes to four different receivers.