FAYETTE — For the second time in the last three games, the Waterloo Columbus football team needed a huge defensive stand to win a ball game.
Friday night on the road at North Fayette Valley, the Sailors stopped the TigerHawks with nine seconds remaining to preserve a 35-34 win in a key Class 2A, District 4 battle.
In a back-and-forth melee, Columbus (6-2, 3-1) looked to seal the game with five minutes remaining on a 21-yard touchdown scamper by Kobe Nobis for a 35-26 advantage.
But North Fayette Valley (3-5, 2-2) took advantage of the time remaining and drove 51 yards in nine plays to get within 35-32, then made it a one-point game with two-plus minutes remaining on a two-point conversion.
The Sailors picked up a valuable first down on their next possession, but couldn’t get another and gave the ball back to the TigerHawks for one final possession.
“I think my hair will be all gone by the end of this year,” Columbus coach Brad Schmit said. “I thought when we made it a two-possession game that we would be good, but they came right back at us. They just chipped away and then came up with a few big pass plays to get the score. We pinned them deep on the last possession, but they came right back at us again.”
The Sailors put the Tigerhawks into a fourth-and-19 situation with 13 seconds remaining, and the defense held to secure a hard-fought victory.
“Our kids are so resilient and they fought hard tonight,” said Schmit. “They beat a very good team tonight that has a storied program. Bob Lape is a legend and you know you will have a fight when you play them. Their offense gave us fits.”
Columbus’ offense clicked most of the night with junior back Ray Seidel toting the load with 107 rushing yards.
“It was very tough running against these guys,” said Seidel. “We thought we could maybe win by a touchdown or two but they have a great team with a lot of good guys up front. That was sure a long second half and the clock just seemed to run slow. It took forever to get over and it was really a big win for us. Now we need to turn our focus to next week.”
The Sailors not only won their sixth game of the season, they did it against a program that has pinned some big losses on Columbus in recent seasons. In fact, the average outcome over the last four meetings was 51-7 in favor of the TigerHawks.
“When you can win big games like this that are close, it will pay dividends in the end,” said Schmit.
“We are only guaranteed one more game so we need to prepare for that. We will enjoy this one tonight. We have not fared well against these guys in the past and this one means a lot.”
Columbus 35, N. Fay. Valley 34
Columbus 14 7 7 7 — 35
N. Fay. Vall. 8 6 6 14 — 34
Col — Ben Sinnott 5 pass from Parker Westhoff (Ben Trost kick)
NFV — Brooks Hovden 3 run (Kole Johnson run)
Col — Ray Seidel 6 run (Trost kick)
NFV—Mac Whelan 40 run (pass failed)
Col — Seidel 3 run (Trost kick)
NFV — Liam McIntyre 6 run (run failed)
Col — Sinnott 8 pass from Westhoff (Trost kick)
NFV — Whelan 12 pass from Hovden (run failed)
Col — Kobe Nobis 21 run (Trost kick)
NFV — Dylan Muggler 2 run (Hovden pass to Muggler)
First downs 12 13
Rushes-yards 35-172 43-256
Passing yards 123 131
Comp-att-int 12-16-0 10-21-0
Return yards 85 93
Punts-avg. 3-33.5 1-27.0
Fumbles-lost 1-1 3-1
Penalties-yards 6-35 6-40
COLUMBUS — Kobe Nobis 11-62, Parker Westhoff 3-3, Ray Seidel 21-107.
NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY — Mac Whelan 13-103, Liam McIntyre 26-144, Gunner Rodgers 4-9, Kole Johnson 1-3.
COLUMBUS — Westhoff 12-16-2, 123 yards.
NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY — Hovden 9-20-1, 128 yards, Rodgers 1-1-0, 3 yards.
COLUMBUS — Ludwig 2-28, Donald Patnode 2-13, Ben Sinnott 6-73, Seidel 1-7, Nobis 1-minus 4.
NORTH FAYETTE VALLEY — Rodgers 3-30, Zach Massman 1-10, Muggler 2-51, Johnson 1-5, Hovden 1-3, Whelan 1-12.