By Chris Yow
COLUMBIA — With the 2010 state champion Columbia Central football team inside Lindsey Nelson Stadium on Thursday night, the current Lions wanted to give their esteemed guests something to cheer about.
A less-than-stellar four quarters later, this year’s Lions left with a 20-0 win over Class 3A Stratford.
“It was a sloppy, no doubt, but it was a win,” Central coach Jason Hoath said. “We wanted to get that one on homecoming.”
Deondre Williams was a bright spot for the Lions in the gane, rushing for 86 yards and a touchdown. After the Lions’ defense forced a fumble, Williams ran four times in a row on the ensuing drive that ended with a touchdown run.
“The line was opening up huge holes in that drive,” Williams said. “I just had to read where they were telling me to go with their blocks.”
The extra point was blocked, however, and from there both defenses took over.
Columbia held the 6-0 lead through halftime and late into the third quarter when the Lions forced an intentional grounding in the end zone, resulting in a safety.
“We played really well defensively; we got three turnovers,” Hoath said. “It was tough. We had seven starters out, so I’m proud of these guys with a next-man-up attitude. They got the job done.”
Williams started in the backfield for Central, while Justin Buchmann also had 10 carries in the game. Former starter Christian Biggers was notably absent from the backfield. Hoath said Biggers was suspended for the first half of the game for disciplinary reasons, but did not dress out the second half. When asked if Biggers not being on the sideline was his decision, Hoath said it was not.
Also missing from the Lions’ backfield was senior quarterback Brady McCanless, who is battling a concussion. In his stead, Parker Bush was given the start, his first of his career. Bush completed 6-of-9 passes for 54 yards and an interception, but also ran for a 1-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
“They started stopping the things we were doing well early on, so we had to open up the playbook,” Hoath said. “(Bush) took a step tonight; I am proud of him. He came in here and executed. We didn’t expect him to play perfect, but he led the offense and came out with a win.”
Central now moves on to take on Shelbyville in a critical Region 5-5A matchup with potential playoff implications, depending on whether or not Shelbyville plays this week against Franklin County. That game looked as if it might be cancelled due to COVID among Shelbyville players, but now appears to be scheduled to play.
“Hopefully we can take some momentum into next week from this one tonight,” Hoath said.
Columbia Central 20, Stratford 0
at Lindsey Nelson Stadium
S 0 0 0 0 — 0
C 6 0 8 6 — 14
|C — Deondre Williams 3 run (7:28) kick blocked|
|C — Safety (1:21)|
|C — Parker Bush 1 run (0:06) kick failed|
|C — Justin Buchmann 1 run (4:29) kick failed|
|Stratford — Darcy McCallister 14-89, Savieon Davidson 7-22, Samuel Armstead 12-19, Charles Trout 3-11, Drequan Gills 2-(-3)|
|Columbia Central — Deondre Williams 9-86, Antwan Moore 3-38, Justin Buchmann 10-26, Parker Bush 3-0|
|Stratford — Samuel Armstead 8-16-0-1 69|
|Columbia Central — Parker Bush 6-9-0-1 54|
|Stratford — Drequan Gills 6-63, Tyrell Buck 1-13, Zamrion Taylor 1-(-1)|
|Columbia Central — Steven Kinnard 4-40, Adrien Hidalgo 1-12, Deondre Williams 1-2|