High School Football

Speedy Columbia looks to contend in Cahokia Conference after disappointing 2017

Columbia’s Nic Horner checks down field during the Columbia-Wesclin varsity football game at Columbia High School.
Columbia’s Nic Horner checks down field during the Columbia-Wesclin varsity football game at Columbia High School. Chris Johns

It wasn’t the year veteran coach Scott Horner had hoped for as his Columbia Eagles battled injuries through a 5-5 season that ended with a first round playoff loss to Herscher.

This season, armed with a junior quarterback in Nic Horner, two speedy running backs in Donovan Bieber and Ronnie Hunsaker and a huge offensive, the Eagles could be flying atop the league standings by the end of the year.

“Our hopes? To stay healthy, play one game at a time and play for each other.,’’’ Scott Horner said. “The culture of our program took a hit last season and our kids are focused on bringing the conference title back to Columbia. ‘’

In the backfield and out wide, the Eagles have speed. Both Bieber, who ran for (393 yards, 7 TDs) and Nic Horner (16 TD passes) gained valuable experience a year ago while Sam Horner had 16 catches and four touchdowns at wide receiver.

All four players will benefit from an offensive line which returns four of five starters.

The anchors aer 6-8 senior Cole Khoury along with returners Ryan Weatherford at center, Cade Napier (6-5 240), twin brother Chase Napier (6-2, 240) and Connor Holten (6-2, 250) fighting at the guard spots. Ryan Hornbostel (6-4, 230) will be a mainstay at the other tackle spot.

On the defensive side of the ball, senior Blake Wagner( 5-11, 205) will be a key at middle linebacker and senior Corner Brandon Kuchinski returning at linebacker as well. Senior outside linebacker Matt Muehlher (6-3, 220) also returns and senior defensive back Josh Marion and junior Sam Horner at the safety spots.
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