Columbus football fell short of its ultimate goal in the first round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs, losing 27-2 to Neshoba Central.
The end result doesn’t describe the entire picture for the Falcons, who snapped a five-year playoff drought and put themselves in a possible position to win a district title over the likes of West Point and Lafayette.
Coming into this season, Columbus had aspirations of a state championship, but after losing its starting quarterback and four straight games to begin the season, that vision was clouded.
The Falcons never wavered, even through adversity, building positive momentum for the program moving forward. On Thursday, they were deservingly celebrated for a great season.
Multiple members of Omega Psi Phi, in collaboration with Achievement Week, as well as officers from the Columbus Air Force Base, came out to the football field house on Thursday to speak with the football team.
Columbus coach Joshua Pulphus broke the team out into smaller groups as players spoke in a more intimate space to speak on mentorship, leadership and living life the right way.
Achievement Week was the perfect time to have Omega Psi Phi members out, as the week itself is designed, per the fraternity’s official website, “to seek out and give due recognition to those individuals at the local and international levels who have made a noteworthy contribution toward improving the quality of life for Black Americans.”
“They wanted to come out and spend some time to praise our players because we hear so many negative and bad things in the news,” Pulphus said. “They just wanted them to know that their hard work throughout the year didn’t go unnoticed. Even though they came short of their goal of a state championship, they wanted to let them know that hard work pays off.”
Hard work and perseverance did pay off for Columbus this season, as that 0-4 start gave way to a 5-2 district record and a three-game winning streak heading into the final regular season game of the year.
For a team that struggled mightily to get points on the board early on, district play was when they were able to get things under control, scoring 28-plus points three times.
Defensively, the Falcons allowed less than 20 points in each of their five district wins, doing a great job at limiting big plays from opponents to put themselves in positions to win more often than not.
However, as the season wore on, it wasn’t just football that players were focusing on, but life itself, thanks in part to multiple meetings that the team had with Columbus AFB members during the preseason.
“Throughout the course of the spring and summer, different men from the military have come over to talk with the team, not just about the military itself, but about how important it is to live life right,” Pulphus said. “It’s been a huge lift to our guys. Any aided support is always great.”
A pseudo-pizza party was also thrown inside the team house for players, a true celebration of what was a history-making season in Columbus.
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