WATERLOO – One of the true measures of a successful team is how they handle both success and disappointment.
The Columbia City Eagle football team handled the success of opening wins to move to a 3-0 record to begin the season.
Friday night the test for the Eagles was to see how they would react to the disappointment of last week’s heartbreakingly close 31-28 loss to Homestead. The Eagles responded by traveling to Northeast Hoosier Conference DeKalb and dropping the Barons by 28-3 score.
The game was one of marked contrasts. The Eagles took the opening kick-off and went to a hurry-up, quick hitting offense, with quarterback Logan Rehrer completing five of six passes on the drive.
The Eagles covered the 65 yards in seven plays, capping the effort with a nine-yard touchdown pass from Rehrer to senior receiver Ben Murphy who dragged a DeKalb defender over the goal line. With just 1:57 gone in the first quarter the Eagles led 7-0.
“It was nice to get off to a fast start with our offense,” Columbia City head coach Randy Hudgins said. “We had a series of plays we practiced all week, and our offense started off brilliantly.”
The DeKalb game plan centered around keeping the Eagles off the field with a ball-control ground attack. The Barons held the ball for the next eight minutes, with their longest play from scrimmage being a roughing the passer penalty on the Eagles.
With no time gone in the second quarter the Barons settled for a 32-yard field goal to cut the Eagle lead to 7-3.
The Eagles padded their lead on the next series, led by the arm and legs of quarterback Rehrer. Completing three passes for 50 yards, and running for another 19 yards in the drive Rehrer scored from four yards out on a keeper, with Jared Murphy adding the two-point conversion on a run to give the Eagles a 15-3 lead with 9:08 left in the half.
The Barons again went back to the ground game working their way slowly down the field, calling a time out with 30 seconds left in the half and the ball on their own 47-yard line. Sticking to their game plan the Barons ran two plays into the line and the clock ran out with the Eagles leading 15-3 at the half
“Their game plan from the start was to run clock and keep our offense off the field, and they did that very well,” Hudgins noted.
The Barons held a huge edge in time of possession holding the ball for 35:36 compared to 12:24 for the Eagles.
DeKalb changed gears to start the second half going to the air in an attempt to move the ball against the Eagles. The hosts were able to move the ball down to the Columbia City 17-yard line, but on fourth-and-two the Eagle defense forced an interception and took over on downs.
On the next Baron drive the Eagle defense again came up with a defensive stand this time stopping the Barons on a fourth-and-two at the Columbia City six-yard line.
With 30 seconds gone in the fourth quarter, Columbia City’s Stephen Farrer dropped back to receive a DeKalb punt. The ball came up short but then took a bounce up into Farrer’s hands and the speedy senior raced 47 yards for the score to give Columbia City a 21-3 lead.
On the ensuing kick-off the Eagles converted an inadvertent onside kick. “We were trying to squib the ball, but every time we try to do that it looks like an onside kick,” Hudgins said.
After recovering the kick, the Eagles gave the Barons what one Columbia City assistant coach called a “Big cup of Cody Wildman.” The Columbia City junior ran the ball three times in a row for 22 yards, before Rehrer weaved his way 27 yards for the game’s final score and the 28-3 win.
“Overall I was pleased with our offense and our defense came up big several times at the end of the game.” Hudgins commented.
Next Friday the Eagles take their 4-1 record home to Max Gandy Athletic Field to face NHC foe New Haven in the annual homecoming contest.