BY NICK CORN
On paper, the Girard Trojans were huge underdogs as they hosted the 3-0 Columbus Titans. Girard, 1-2 entering the game, gave Columbus all they could muster but it wouldn’t be enough as the Titans ran away with a 41-16 victory. Girard received the ball to start the game and took the ball 57 yards on 12 plays while using six minutes and thirty seconds and quickly took a 3-0 lead on a Juan Ortiz field goal. The Trojans picked up three first downs on Columbus penalties, including two Titans being drawn offsides by sophomore Eric Wilson’s hard count. Wilson started his first high school game for the Trojans as Tucker Johnston watched from the sidelines with a leg injury, a leg injury could sideline the senior quarterback for the remainder of the season.
After taking the lead, Girard held Columbus to a three-and-out but was forced to punt back to the Titans. The Trojans took their 3-0 lead into the second quarter, but a 33-yard pass play on third and one set Columbus up for a score and a 7-3 lead. After a Girard punt, Columbus took over on the Trojans’ 35 yard-line. After gaining 12 yards, the Titans were sacked on two consecutive plays by senior Zach Franklin for a net loss of 17 yards. After another Girard possession was cut short, Columbus’ Jace McDown ran in his second touchdown of the night to move the lead to 14-3 with 3:55 left in the half. After several solid chunks were picked up the ground and a Columbus unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, the Trojans faced a third down and six from the Titan 19 when Wilson nailed Tyler Green in stride across the middle for a 16 yard gain. Wilson kept the ball on the next play to score from three yards out and bring the score to 14-9 as Girard’s two-point try failed. Girard had stunned the Titans in the first half and seemed to have all the momentum thus far in the contest. With five seconds left in the half, Columbus connected on a 51 yard touchdown strike to take a 21-9 lead going into halftime. This play forecasted the second half of the game as Columbus would start to run away with the lead.
The Titans would score a touchdown on their first three possessions of the second half and lead 41-9 before Kord Curran ran one in from ten yards out to cut the lead to 41-16, where it would stay to end the game. Girard gave the number two ranked Titans a heck of a battle in the first half, but ran out of juice in the second half. The Trojans amassed 146 yards on the ground on 41 carries, led by Curran’s 54 yards on 13 attempts. Wilson completed two passed for 21 yards to bump the Trojans’ total offensive outcome to 167 yards. Columbus rushed for 274 yards and passed for another 212. McDown rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns on 16 carries. Trey Robinson completed 6-7 passes for 179 yards and two scores.
Next on the schedule for Girard is the 1-3 Southeast Lancers. The Lancers defeated Baxter to open up the season, but have lost three straight to undefeated Columbus, Frontenac, and Colgan. Last year the Trojans pulled out a 37-31 victory when they hosted Southeast.