Story and photos by Andrew Ferrell
It was a night of haziness both in the air and on the field for the Columbia City Eagles Friday night, but much was to be appreciated by the improvement the Eagles made from last week. The Eagles started the first half with all guns ablazin' but ran out of gas toward the fourth quarter, falling to the Huntington North Vikings 26-14.
“We have really gotten a lot better from week one,” head coach Randy Hudgins said.
In the first quarter, the Eagles took advantage of Huntington North's miscues as Eagles defensive lineman Jon Myers recovered a fumble in the end zone with 2:38 left on the clock, giving Columbia City the early 7-0 lead.
Huntington North gained some momentum in the next drive as their running attack began shedding some yards, but another fumble at the start of the second quarter gave the ball back to Columbia City.
With rain and mist for most of the first half, the ball became very hard to hold onto as Columbia City fumbled on their next drive and the Vikings followed up their opportunity to score with another fumble that the Eagles recovered on their own 47-yard line.
Columbia City cashed in on the Vikings third fumble as quarterback Logan Rehrer drove the Eagles to the 6-yard line with two passes to junior receiver Travis Babler. On the next play, senior running back Tyler Brown walked into the end zone for the score at the 6:28 mark, giving the Eagles a 14-0 lead.
Columbia City junior linebacker recovered another Huntington fumble after the Vikings had drove the ball down to the 32-yard line. The Eagles looked to score again before half, on the arms or Rehrer as he tossed two consecutive passes for 32 yards to junior Austin Grimm and a 23-yard pass to Stephen Farrer.
Facing a first and goal with the ball on the 7-yard line, the Eagles decided to try and run the ball in for the score again, but Brown coughed up the ball deep in Huntington North territory.
The Vikings got on the board late in the second quarter on a methodical 10-play drive that ended with a 13-yard heave from quarterback Kevin Fisher to wide receiver Alex Drummond, making the score 14-7 at the half, in favor of the Eagles.
Both teams struggled on their first drives of the second half and the Eagles began to show signs of fatigue on defense as the Vikings began to pump up their running attack. On the Viking's second drive of the third quarter, running back Austin Shoemaker busted a 70-yard run down the sidelines for the score, and a missed extra point still gave the Eagles a 14-13 lead.
Columbia City looked to add points to the scoreboard, running the ball to the 30-yard line, but eventually turned the ball over on downs. The Vikings went back to Shoemaker as he strolled through the middle on a 30-yard run, and then they completed two passes for 32-yards getting them inside the 10-yard line. On the ensuing play, Huntington North's David George rumbled into the end zone for their first lead of the night, 19-14.
Trying to get back into the game, Rehrer was picked off, early in the fourth, on a deep pass thrown to Farrer and the Vikings defender ran it back for the final score 26-14.
"We are learning about ourselves as the season continues. If we keep playing hard and we keep getting better than we are going to breakthrough at some point and all of the work will be worth it," Hudgins concluded.
The Eagles, 0-2 on the season, see action next Friday as they travel to the defending state 3A champions Bellmont for their conference opener.