Twelve seconds into the game Friday, the Wesclin Warriors found themselves trailing the Columbia Eagles 7-0.
By the end of the first quarter the deficit was 28-0 and things snowballed from there as Columbia moved to 4-0 with a 42-0 Cahokia Conference football win over the Warrriors.
“They’re very quick in space,” said Wesclin coach Ric Johns, whose team was victimized on two quick touchdown pass plays from Drew Huebner to Chris Wagner. “They have a way to get a kid a ball out in the open and we just couldn’t match that. They were better than I anticipated.”
Columbia (4-0 overall, 2-0 in the conference) is,ranked eighth in the Class 4A state poll, also got 137 yards rushing and two TDs on 13 carries by Kenny Fields.
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At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, Fields blasted his way through the holes created by his offensive linemen and had four carries of 20 yards or more before the first half ended.
“Our offensive line just tore it up out there,” said Fields, who has 476 yards and seven TDs through four games. “Coach (Columbia coach Scott) Horner pushed me really hard and I knew running behind these linemen I could get anything.”
On Columbia’s first play from scrimmage. Huebner threw a bootleg pass to Wagner and Wagner finished off the rest for a 52-yard touchdown. Huebner found him again for a 14-yard TD pass with 6:58 remaining in the first quarter.
Four of Wagner’s seven pass receptions have gone for touchdowns.
“I remember last year they were really, really aggressive defensively, blitzing people and doing things,” Horner said. “So my thought process right off the bat was let’s get the ball out in the open if they’re going to be playing the run a lot. We were able to get the ball in the end zone early and that helped, kind of took the wind right out of their sails.”
Johns, whose team dropped to 2-2 overall and 1-1 in the league, concurred.
“We didn’t match their effort,” he said. “We didn’t match their quickness. I can’t take anything away from them, they were really, really good.”
Huebner, 7-of-10 for 142 yards and three TDs, also fired a 51-yard TD pass to Cameron Touchette. Eagles linebacker Owen Suedkamp added a 1-yard TD run that made it 42-0 with 8:14 still to play in the first half.
Much of the hard work was done by the “Monsters,” as Columbia refers to its massive offensive line, as well as the large and aggressive defensive line.
“Offensive line and defensive line-wise we played the best game we’ve played all year,” Horner said. “I really felt like we were going to have to play that way because like I’ve been telling the kids all week, that’s a decent football team. We just executed really well tonight.”
Wesclin running back Jason Robinson had 405 yards rushing and four TDs before Friday, but the Eagles’ defense shut down every aspect of the Warriors’ running game. Robinson had 16 carries for 53 yards, but the Eagles controlled the line of scrimmage.
“We really anticipated being able to compete up front,” Johns said.