At 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds, elusive senior running back Kenny Fields is nearly invisible behind Columbia’s massive offensive line known as “The Monsters.”
Fields made himself easy to spot Friday night as he blasted through holes and then ran over and around defenders on the way to 227 yards and three touchdowns in the Eagles’ 45-14 Cahokia Conference football win over Freeburg.
“I could run to daylight all night long,” said Fields, who bounced back from an early fumble and then turned Freeburg’s field into a personal playground thanks to his rock-solid linemen.”They put the holes there and I ran through them. They’re very physical up front and we make good plays.”
As for rewarding his linemen, Fields went with the obvious answer for a bunch of large, hungry guys.
“I don’t know, I might take them out to eat,” said Fields, who has 807 yards rushing and 10 TDs.
“A lot of running backs could run really well behind our offensive line,” said Columbia coach Scott Horner, whose team is averaging 41 points per game. “I think what you saw tonight was they were giving him holes, but he was getting a lot of yards after contact — and that was huge for us.
“The guys up front have been doing a good job for us all year and they did a great job again tonight.”
Columbia (6-0 overall, 3-0 in league play) was eighth in the latest Class 4A state rankings, while Freeburg (3-3) dropped to 1-3 in the conference.
A 1-yard TD run by Michael Smith came after a double-pass from Joseph Wolf to Bobby Tedesco and back to Wolf, putting Freeburg on top 7-0.
An Eagles turnover had the Midgets rolling again, but the Columbia defense forced a quick three-and-out. Given a chance to breathe, the Eagles got TD runs of 4 yards and 19 yards by Fields and a 53-yard TD pass from Drew Huebner to Cameron Touchette.
Freeburg got one more TD on an 88-yard kickoff return by Tedesco, but the Eagles turned out the lights after that and ran away from the Midgets.
“They did a good job defensively, brought some blitzes and we basically went backwards on that second series (after the fumble),” Freeburg coach Ronnie Stuart said. “Against a good football team, when you get a turnover like that you’ve got to capitalize on it. We didn’t capitalize, they got the ball back and they got things rolling offensively.”
Huebner completed 11-of-22 passes for 213 yards and three TDs. He spread the offensive wealth, tossing TD passes to Touchette (53 yards), Jonathan Holmes (56 yards) and Lamont Read (24 yards) — all in the second quarter.
“What I was really happy with tonight was our ability to do a lot of different things offensively,” Horner said. “We’ve got a lot of weapons on the field and you saw that early on. Then having a guy in the backfield doing what Kenny’s been doing, I think it’s tough to stop us at times. As long as we’re playing well.”
Wolf was the top producer for Freeburg with 90 yards rushing on 17 carries while Tedesco had the big kick return.
LITTLE BIG MAN
Stuart said Fields presents a lot of problems for a defense.
“He’s a small guy and very strong, so when you get behind that big line and they’re pulling and blocking it’s hard for our guys to see,” Stuart said. “Then he slips through that crack and when you go to grab that shirt and pull him down ...if you try to grab the jersey he’s not going to go down. He’s a strong kid.”