The Cleveland Central High School football team made the long trip to Columbus midway through the district schedule, and if there were any worries about them being stiff coming off the bus, they were dashed in a very competitive first half.
The second half was a different story, and Falcons head coach Joshua Pulphus said it plainly after the game:
“We just didn’t execute.”
The result was a 35-22 victory for the visitors.
Columbus came out of the gates red hot for homecoming night, scoring more in the first quarter than in the entire game last week against Lafayette. For the second week in a row, senior Michael Mosley took a kick return to the house, and for a moment, fans could barely hear themselves think in the stands.
The rushing attack was working its magic, and everything seemed to be clicking on all cylinders for the Falcons’ offense when they went into the locker rooms for halftime with a 22-19 lead, their other two touchdowns courtesy of senior Tawon Troop, who scored on runs of 37 and 11 yards.
After the game, however, there would be few happy fans left on the home side of the stadium.
Senior Cleveland Central running back Jamarion White had his way with the Columbus defense throughout the game. His first touch went for 50 yards in the first quarter, and White kept the same pace all night, while the Falcons simply did not.
Cleveland Central went on to hold Columbus scoreless in the second half while keeping their offense rolling, mostly in part because of their play in the trenches.
“That’s probably the biggest group of kids we’ve seen all year,” Pulphus said.
With three starting offensive linemen above the 6-foot-5 and 300-pound marks, the Wolves were able to run the ball with ease against a tired Columbus defense in the second half.
Cleveland Central tacked on two more touchdowns before the final horn blew, handing the Falcons their second straight divisional loss, but Pulphus had some uplifting words for his team after the game.
“Every ‘L’ we take, we try to take it as a ‘Lesson’ instead of a ‘Loss’…we just have to go back and look at the film…and we’re going to finish the season strong,” he said.
The Falcons will try to get back on track when they travel to Saltillo next week to continue district play.
Cleveland Central 35, Columbus 22
Cleveland Central (4-3, 3-1 5A-12) 7 12 8 8 — 35
Columbus (3-5, 2-2 5A-1) 15 7 0 0 — 22
CC — Myles Griffin 7 run (Cruz Oguz kick), 7:10
C — Michael Mosley 80 kickoff return (Darion Mosely kick), 7:04
C — Tawon Troop 37 run (Isaiah Harris run), 5:03
CC — Manny Tyler 30 run (run failed), 8:55
CC — Jamarion White 38 run (run failed), 8:29
C — Troop 11 run (Mosley kick), 2:08
CC — Griffin 12 yd rush (Griffin run), 9:39
CC — Griffin 30 pass from Jaryn Kelly (Tyler run), 11:05