By Jim Bratton
With their season at a bit of a crossroads, Columbia Central’s Lions responded positively Friday night — scoring three first-half touchdowns and getting a crucial 40-yard field goal from sophomore Max Patton in a 30-21 Region 5-5A victory over visiting Lincoln County.
Central (3-2, 1-1) had lost consecutive games, to visiting league rival Summit and at Giles County, and was facing the possibility of an 0-2 start in region play with a second homefield defeat.
“I’m extremely proud of our guys, the way they came out here and fought tonight,” Lions coach Jason Hoath said. “We started really well in the first half; offense was moving the ball, defense was opportunistic and came up with some turnovers for us and we had to capitalize on those.”
The urgency of the situation was apparent from the start, as the hosts took an early lead on a 7-yard Brady McCanless-to-Blane Davis touchdown pass with 4:02 remaining in the opening period.
On the first play of the Falcons’ ensuing drive, a Parker Webb fumble was recovered by Central’s Shane Cobb at the Lincoln County 27-yard line. Five plays later, Central was in the end zone again, when McCanless connected with receiver Steven Kinnard on a 14-yard touchdown pass.
The next Lincoln County possession ended on a fumble as well, with Roman Woodson recovering to set up a Central scoring drive capped by Justin Buchmann’s 14-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter for a 20-0 lead.
Before intermission, the visitors got a 6-yard Webb pass to Eric Greenwood to make it a 20-7 game, and they added two more third-quarter Webb scores — a 61-yard run and a 33-yard pass to Miles Smith — to take a 21-20 lead.
After a Central fourth-quarter drive fizzled, Patton bailed his teammates out. Originally facing fourth-and-10 from the Falcon 27-yard line, a 45-yard field goal attempt became a 40-yarder as the visitors were whistled for being offsides.
From there, he converted, giving the Lions a 23-21 cushion with 2:26 to play.
“Of course I was a little nervous,” Patton said. “But in those situations, you’ve just got to have confidence in yourself, have confidence that your line’s gonna be able to block, snapper’s gonna be able to snap, and holder’s gonna be able to hold it. I trusted them, and I just kicked it, and it all comes down to technique.”
Buchmann’s second touchdown run of the night, a 9-yarder with 1:34 remaining, put the contest on ice for the hosts.
“We felt really good at halftime, but we came out in the second half a little sluggish,” Hoath said. “They came out and executed well, and we let them back in the game.
“There at the end, it was 21-20. … We stalled on offense, had a chance to go for a field goal and put Max out there — ‘let’s see what he can do’. I’ve seen him do it in practice before. I’m glad he had the opportunity and glad he came through with it. He’s improved a lot since his freshman year, and I’m just glad that the opportunity presented itself so he could show everybody what he could do.”
Despite a 161-yard rushing effort by Webb, Lincoln County drops to 3-2 (1-1) with the loss.
Columbia Central 30, Lincoln Co. 21
at Lindsey Nelson Stadium
L 0 7 14 0 — 21
C 13 7 0 10 — 30
C — Blane Davis 7 pass from Brady McCanless (4:02), Max Patton kick
C — Steven Kinnard 14 pass from McCanless (1:48), run failed
C — Justin Buchmann 14 run (11:53), Patton kick
L — Eric Greenwood 6 pass from Parker Webb (5:33), Reid Hardin kick
L — Parker Webb 61 run (9:25), Hardin kick
L — Miles Smith 33 pass from Webb (2:23), Hardin kick
C — Max Patton 40 field goal (2:26)
C — Buchmann 9 run (1:34), Patton kick
First downs 6 8
Rushes-yards 32-177 21-115
Passing yards 63 114
Comps-Atts-Ints 6-10-0 13-17-0
Penalties-yards 6-55 12-93
Fumbles-lost 4-2 1-1
Lincoln Co. — Parker Webb 26-161, Angel Martinez 5-17, Ben Davis 1-(-1)
Columbia Central — Justin Buchmann 12-93, Brady McCanless 5-1, Deondre Williams 3-24, Adrien Hidalgo 1-(-3)
Lincoln Co. — Parker Webb 6-10-0, 63
Columbia Central — Brady McCanless 13-17-0, 114
Lincoln Co. — Miles Smith 5-58, Eric Greenwood 1-5
Columbia Central — Justin Buchmann 4-39, Steven Kinnard 2-20, Jase Hoath 2-10, Blane Davis 4-27, Evan Sandman 1-18