CARLYLE — A couple more games like his last two and there won't be any "third-string running back" tag on Columbia junior Lou Isringhaus.
Running behind a dominant offensive line Friday, Isringhaus rolled up 177 yards and a touchdown on 24 carries as Columbia remained unbeaten with a 33-2 Cahokia Conference win over previously undefeated Carlyle.
"It's all my offensive line, I would be nothing without them," said Isringhaus, who had 186 yards and four TDs on only six carries last week against Wesclin. "I just run straight ahead like I was always taught to do and fall forward. Just run my hardest."
Isringhaus had a busy night, also returning an interception 46 yards to set up another Columbia TD.
With the Eagles' top two running backs injured, Isringhaus may be renting the position, but these 100-yard games are a pretty good down payment on a possible move up the depth chart.
"He reminds me a lot of John Heineken back in 2007, because he's a big kid and he runs with power," Columbia coach Scott Horner said. "But what's equally important is his footspeed. He's got great feet and he's got great vision. You put all those things together and it makes for a great running back."
Columbia (5-0 overall, 3-0 in conference play) is ranked third in Class 4A, while Carlyle (4-1) dropped to 3-1 in the conference.
Isringhaus had 101 yards by halftime, after having powered a 79-yard drive early in the second quarter with some relentless running. He had three double-digit yard runs during the drive, which ended on a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Brock McGowan.
The extra point gave the Eagles a 20-0 lead and Carlyle never recovered.
Carlyle hasn't beaten Columbia since 2000 (32-14).
"They're not ranked third in 4A for no reason," Carlyle Coach Randy Dooley said. "We made some mistakes early and they just physically dominated the line of scrimmage. They're a darned good ballclub and hats off to them."
Columbia broke on top on a 24-yard interception return in the first quarter by lineman Nick Bollasina.
An interception in the end zone by Columbia's Dallas Schroeder stopped Carlyle from scoring on an early drive. Another interception, this time by Isringhaus, was returned 46 yards and gave Columbia a first down at the Carlyle 18.
Isringhaus bolted 15 yards to the 3 and McGowan did the rest for another TD late in the first quarter.
"We have our limitations and they kind of exploited them," Dooley said. "Their offensive line is very good. Physically they just were too much for us."
The script was pretty much the same in the second half as Columbia continued to wear the smaller Indians down on the ground.
Isringhaus ran the ball seven times in a row on the Eagles' 66-yard drive to start the third quarter, scoring from 3 yards out.
Columbia quarterback Brock McGowan also tossed a 73-yard TD pass to Jacob Hill.
Carlyle could never get much of a running game going and had to resort almost exclusively to the air. Quarterback Billy Cummins was sacked four times and completed 12 of 28 passes for 120 yards.
The Indians broke the shutout with a safety after a punt snap by Columbia was recovered in the end zone with 8 minutes, 48 seconds remaining.
"We're down to running back No. 3," Horner said. "I say 'down,' but our third running back's running the ball and he's doing a great job -- but he doesn't do that without us controlling the line of scrimmage."