The Class 6A Columbia High Tigers improved to (4-0, 0-0) Friday night after defeating the Class 5A Pine Forest Eagles (1-2, 0-0), of Pensacola, 21-13 in high school football.
It wasn’t the cleanest game offensively for the Tigers, who were looking to keep momentum going following a 67-12 win over Akelynn’s Angel’s Christian Academy last Saturday night. This wasn’t the case, however, for the other side of the ball.
Defense shows out
The Eagles’ offense came out looking to establish a run game early. On their first offensive series, they held the ball for close to eight minutes before finally being stopped on fourth down on Columbia’s side of the field.
A mix of run/pass plays kept the Tiger defense on their toes throughout the first half. The Eagles were able to get into the end zone at the 9:48 mark of the second quarter after a touchdown run by sophomore running back Joseph Garrett to put the score at 7-7.
In the second half, Columbia’s defense turned up the intensity and were able to force three Eagle turnovers. This included a go-ahead interception by sophomore linebacker Jaden Dunn with 1:02 left in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory for the Tigers.
Columbia head coach Brian Allen said he was pleased with the effort on this side of the ball and of his first-year coordinator.
“John (Woodley) has done an outstanding job with this defensive unit,” Allen said. “They understand what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how they are doing it.”
The Tigers struggled to get the offense cranked up. Quarterback Jordan Smith was off on a few throws and receivers had some dropped balls on what should have been easy catches.
Despite this, Columbia was still able to capitalize on Pine Forest mistakes. A fumble late in the second quarter by the Eagles led to Smith throwing a TD pass to senior wideout Marquez Bell to put the Tigers up 14-7.
Late in the third quarter, a second fumble by the Eagles led to a rushing touchdown by senior Lanadrick Bradley to extend Columbia’s lead to 21-7.
So far, Columbia has shown it can win games in different ways. Two coming in blowout fashion, while the others came with a little more fight. But for the Tigers, the real meat of their schedule is just about to get started.
They will have a chance to rest up next week before opening up district play against the Gainesville Hurricanes on September 27 at Citizens Field.