VIDEO BY LUKE SYLVIA
The Columbia Tigers start their season with a bang, defeating the Gainesville Hurricanes in a high-scoring affair 52-34.
Hurricanes score first, but Tigers quickly answer back
The Hurricanes got off to a fast start, racing off to a 6-0 touchdown lead when quarterback Luke Matthews tossed a 36-yard touchdown pass to Xavier White. However, the lead was short-lived as the Tigers would strike back. Teon Dollard ran nine-yards for the touchdown to help make it 7-6 Tigers. Ethan Umstead would then make it 14-6 with a 67-yard fumble return touchdown. The Tigers then made it 21-6 when Dollard rushed 30 yards for his second touchdown of the night.
In the second quarter, Gainesville answered back when Matthews tossed his second touchdown pass, this time to Christian Miller-Cardwell. Taurean Hill then converted the two points to make it 21-14.
The Tigers quickly answered back as Kylen Callum rushed for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 28-14. In the third quarter, Callum paved the way again, this time rushing for seven yards to make it 35-14 Columbia. The Tigers would then add three more points on Garrett Finnell’s 30-yard field goal to make it 38-14.
In the fourth quarter, Kinnzon Hutchinson had a four-yard touchdown run to make it 38-20. Matthews then tossed his third touchdown pass of the game, throwing it for 14 yards to Niles Cromwell to make it 38-26.
Columbia continued to add to their lead, this time getting a one-yard touchdown run from Dollard to make it 45-26. The Hurricanes refused to go away as Hutchinson rushed for a four-yard touchdown and a two-point conversion to make it 45-34. Once again, however, the Tigers had an answer as Callum rushed for a six-yard touchdown to make it a final score of 52-34.
@sunpreps Teon Dollard with 240 yards rushing, 3 TDs for Columbia tonight
— Kevin Brockway (@gatorhoops) August 26, 2017
Columbia offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage
Columbia’s offensive line played a key role in the victory and head coach Brian Allen made sure to give them credit. He was also pleased with the team’s running game but noted that the team has room to improve.
“We rushed the ball tremendously well, but we can continue to get better,” he said.
Columbia’s next game will be Friday, Sept. 1 against the Suwannee Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m. Gainesville’s next game will be the same day and time against the Santa Fe Raiders.