Multiple missions were accomplished by Columbia High’s football team Saturday afternoon, at its home away from home, Seton Catholic’s reliable turf field. The Bruins’ game was moved to Vancouver because conditions were far from optimal on their home field. Coach Dan Smith’s team responded with a workmanlike, 39-12, win over Fort Vancouver to even its record at 1-1.
Smith said the Bruins had some specific goals for the game, in part because this week the competition ratchets up a notch with a contest at unbeaten Castle Rock. “One was trying to be more balanced (offensively) than we were the week before, so Austin didn’t have to carry the entire load,” he said of workhorse running back Austin Charters. “In the last three years, that’s probably the most pass plays I’ve called (in a game),” Smith said of quarterback Garrett Hogberg’s 18 attempts.
Columbia’s running game continued to be prominent, and the Bruins spread around the carries more than they did in their Feb. 20 opener, a 28-26 overtime road loss against Seton Catholic. “With our running game, we were able to get our fullback more involved and even get our quarterback involved in the running game.”
There will be some things to clean up this week in practice before the Bruins travel to Castle Rock on Friday for a 7 p.m. game against the 2-0 Rockets. (Castle Rock is averaging 51 points a game in wins over Goldendale and Seton Catholic.) Columbia suffered some untimely fumbles — though it managed to recover all of the miscues — and finished plus four in turnovers. A costly penalty negated a would-be 61-yard, second-period TD run by Charters on a draw play.
Columbia opened up its offensive playbook against Fort, as Hogberg showed he was comfortable standing in the pocket in his first start at quarterback. Charters continued his stellar play, rushing 18 times for 183 yards and two touchdowns. His first score was set up by a Hogberg-to-Ryan Howard 37-yard pass to the Fort 3, where he followed the lead block of fullback Juan Martinez into the end zone.
Columbia never trailed, scoring on its second offensive possession after a nine-play, 55-yard drive. The score came when Hogberg ran an option right before cutting back to the left through a huge hole cleared by linemen Kegan Brasuell and Kevin Medina from the 5-yard line.
Medina had a good game on defense, as well. “He was a tough one for Fort to block up front,” Smith said. “He did a great job; got in the backfield quite a bit and disrupted some of their timing.”
Fort pulled within 7-6 on an eight-play, 75-yard drive of its own early in the second quarter, but Columbia scored the game’s next 33 points. A highlight was Hogberg’s second-period TD pass to wide receiver Isaac Wang which covered 64 yards down the right sideline.