Friday night’s game between Columbus and Lafayette felt like playoff football, as Falcons coach Joshua Pulphus would say.
Both teams went into the game 2-0 in Class 5A, Region 1, but after another Columbus game featuring intense defense, it was the Commodores who remained unbeaten in the region, claiming a 21-12 win in Columbus.
From the moment the ball was snapped, it became a defensive football game. On the Falcons’ first drive, Lafayette’s Kylan Egerson intercepted an Omari Williams pass intended for Michael Mosley and returned it 35 yards for a score. And while it took more than a quarter and a half for the Commodores to score against the Columbus defense, the Falcons offense could do very little.
The Falcons had their chances to reach the end zone in the first half, but the half was marred by penalties on both sides. On one drive, the Falcons gained more yards from Lafayette penalties than they did with their offense. This turned out to be a theme for the night.
Despite not being able to put up a point in the first half, the Falcons made an effort to make the game interesting in the second.
Halfway through the third quarter, Mosley decided that it was time to put the team on his back. Lafayette had been pooch-kicking, and the Columbus coaching staff had an answer. On the kickoff following a 15-yard touchdown pass that gave the visitors a 21-0 lead, a shallow return team took the field, and the Commodores made the mistake of kicking the ball directly to Mosely.
The senior caught the ball and reversed the field, opening up as much grass as any player could hope for, and Mosley made the most of it, taking the ball 60 yards to the house for what was easily the biggest play of the game.
Mosley said he had one thing running through his head:
“Just got to put some points on the scoreboard, man,” he said.
He did just that, and he gave the Falcons their only points until the closing minute.
“We dropped a lot of open passes; we’ve got to have those catches,” Pulphus said, and in the fourth quarter, when the Falcons needed catches the most, a lot of those drops occurred.
The Falcons offense was kept out of the end zone until Mosely scored on a 10-yard pass from Williams with 6 seconds left on the clock.
Pulphus’ message to his team after that kind of loss was a simple one..
“We’ve just got to dust it off and get ready to host Cleveland Central next week,” he said.
The Falcons will look to get their offense tuned up and do just that, as they do host Cleveland Central for homecoming. The Wolves also were 2-0 in the region going into Friday night, but they wound up on the wrong end of a 48-14 score against West Point.
Lafayette 21, Columbus 12
Columbus (3-4, 2-1 5A-1) 0 0 6 6 — 12
Lafayette (5-2, 3-0 5A-1) 8 7 6 0 — 21
L — Kylan Egerson 35 interception return, (Jayden Reed run), 8:55
L — Reed 15 run (Hudson Nelson kick), 1:41
L — Kylen Vaughn 15 pass from Charlie Fair (kick failed), 5:32
C — Michael Mosley 60 kickoff return (run failed), 5:20
C — Mosely 10 pass from Williams (run failed), :06