By Maurice Patton
FRANKLIN – Page executed its game plan – running to set up the pass — and visiting Columbia Central couldn’t answer Friday in an eventual 28-10 Region 5-5A loss.
The Patriots threw for a pair of first-half touchdowns, tying the contest and taking the lead on the way to their second victory in as many outings over a four-week span interrupted by a COVID pause.
“We felt like we could run,” veteran Page coach Charles Rathbone said. “If we could, and make them put another (defender) in ‘the box’, then we could throw it.”
Just as they drew it up, the Pats (3-3, 1-1) answered Central’s impressive 15-play, 51-yard scoring drive with a mix of ground game and air attack. Junior Jake McNamara connected with Gunner Gist for the 23-yard score inside the final minute of the opening quarter.
Late in the second period, McNamara found Eston Snider in the middle of the Central defense, with Snider breaking a couple of tackles and speeding away for 59 yards and a 13-7 lead.
“That was just a quarterback and a receiver making a play,” Rathbone said.
On the ensuing possession, Central (4-4, 1-3) looked poised to take advantage of the missed Page extra point, going from its own 32-yard line to first-and-goal. But with time winding down, the Lions had to settle for a 22-yard Max Patton field goal and trailed 13-10 at intermission.
After Patton misfired from 23 yards to open the third quarter, McNamara and Snider hooked up again for 75 yards, and Central only ran two plays on the plus side of the 50 the rest of the night.
“We played solid for the first of the game,” Lions coach Jason Hoath said. “But turnovers (three interceptions) and penalties were an issue. It’s been a broken record. You can’t win games when you play that way.
“We played hard. I’m proud of them. We fought hard to the end. But we’ve got to clean that up.”
Despite a 90-yard rushing effort by Christian Biggers, Columbia Central finished with just 185 offensive yards – only 71 in the final two quarters.
McNamara wound up throwing for 224 yards for the Patriots. Cason Walker finished with a pair of interceptions, the second of which he returned 48 yards for the final score of the night.
“We knew they were a tough team, better than their record indicated,” Hoath said after Central lost for the fourth time in as many meetings with Page. “They’ve got some quickness on offense. They played well.”
The Lions finished the game with Parker Bush under center, as both McCanless and running back Justin Buchmann sustained head injuries while offensive lineman Louis Maddox injured his left ankle during the contest.
“We’re a little banged up across the board,” Hoath said.
Page 28, Columbia Central 10
at Waylon Jennings Stadium
C 7 3 0 0 — 10
P 7 6 7 8 — 28
|C — Brady McCanless 1 run (3:56), Max Patton kick|
|P — Gunner Gist 23 pass from Jake McNamara (0:22), Dominicke Quarantello kick|
|P — Eston Snider 59 pass from McNamara (2:24), kick failed|
|C — Patton 22 field goal (0:00)|
|P — Snider 75 pass from McNamara (6:05), Quarantello kick|
|P — Safety: bad snap downed in end zone (3:10)|
|P — Cason Walker 48 interception return (0:50), kick failed|
|Columbia Central – Parker Bush 2-(-16), Justin Buchmann|
16-24, Brady McCanless 4-11, Christian Biggers 17-90, Deandre Williams 2-2
|Page – Jordan Rutland 15-48, Jake McNamara 8-22, Hank White 7-36|
|Columbia Central – Parker Bush 6-10-1, 23, Brady McCanless 8-14-2, 65|
|Page – Jake McNamara 9-15-0, 224|
|Columbia Central – Adrien Hidalgo 5-25, Jase Hoath 1-9, Deandre Williams 1-4, Steven Kinnard 5-42, Justin Buchmann 2-8|
|Page – Eston Snider 4-152, Gunner Gist 4-71, Kyle Gaffney 1-1|