Leading just 14-12 at halftime, Columbia coach Scott Horner used the intermission to challenge his team to play more inspired football in the second half.
Apparently they listened.
The Eagles outscored Nashville 21-0 in the final two quarters to finish a perfect regular season with a 35-12 win on the road Friday night.
“It feels pretty good,” admitted Horner after the game. “Nashville’s a quality football team. They have a good record and they play in a tough conference.
“Anytime you can go on the road and get a win it’s big,” added Horner. “I’m proud as heck of them.”
The Eagles ended with just over 400 yards of total offense with nearly half of that coming from Kenny Fields. The senior running back rushed 25 times for 196 yards with two big second-half touchdowns.
The Hornets stopped Columbia just short of the end zone at the end of the first half, forcing the Eagles to turn the ball over on downs at the 8 yard line. Nashville then took the opening drive of the second half down the field where they looked to take the lead with a 24-yard field-goal attempt.
But the kick missed as the Columbia defense stood firm.
The missed scoring opportunity is one that has haunted the Hornets in recent games. Nashville has not scored in the second half of a game since week five at Sparta.
“I’ll be honest I don’t know what’s wrong and we are burning the midnight oil trying to come up with an answer,” said coach Tim Kuhn.
Both teams will make it into the playoffs. The Eagles at 9-0 will host a first-round matchup as the 6-3 Hornets will likely be on the road in round one.