- Faith & Family
The Northwestern Bulls regained control in the final minutes against the Columbus Explorers to get a 10-7 victory last Saturday night at Traz Powell in a game that had more possession changes and fewer highlights than a ping-pong match.
The first highlight occurred on the first play of the game when Northwestern junior quarterback, Jabari Dowling, threw a pass that was picked off by Columbus’ senior corner, Nick Fernandez, and run in for a 20-yard touchdown.
The Explorers (4-3) remained scoreless for the remainder of the night, but lead up until the 1:48 mark in the fourth quarter. In that time Northwestern scored on a 24-yard field goal by kicker junior kicker, Ruben Piraquve to go into the half down by four.
Both teams run game and passing struggled during the first. The Explorers earned 40 total offensive yards in the first half, including 6 passing yards. Columbus sophomore quarterback, Beirne Tucker, got off to a slow start completing only two passes in the entire half and threw two interceptions. The Bulls (5-1) fared a little better on passing finishing with 39 yards, but had only amassed 64 offensive yards going into the half.
During the second half, Columbus had an opportunity to score after a 76-yard run by running back Daryl Chestnut put them within 5 yards of the end zone, but the Bulls’ defense stepped up and the Explorers could not convert.
And, though the Bulls defense managed to keep the Explorers out of the end zone, their offense struggled to score. Both teams had amassed more penalty yards than running yards by the end of the third.
With less than two minutes left in the game, it looked as if the Explorers had outlasted the Bulls, until Tice emerged on a 51-yard run into the end zone to give the Bulls the lead for the first time in the game.
The Bulls defense stepped up once again during Columbus’s final drive and forced a fumble by Tucker that was recovered by senior Bulls receiver Darius Humes to solidify the win.
“Darius is the homerun hitter that we need,” said Stephen Field, Northwestern head coach. “There were lots of times we could’ve laid down, but we kept fighting.”
“Sometimes it’s even better when you’ve faced adversity and won,” Field added.
Northwestern faces district opponent Belen Jesuit (2-4) on Saturday at Traz Powell at 7p.m.
By Akilah Laster