Too much Kendrel Marino. Way too much Nate Myers. And in the end, entirely too many big plays from Southern Huntingdon’s offense, which ultimately spelled doom for Columbia.
Marino rushed for 73 yards with a touchdown run and a TD catch. Myers passed for 168 yards and rushed for 128 yards with two long TD throws and two long TD keepers. And the Rockets piled up 371 total yards Monday night in their 38-16 nonleague win over the Crimson Tide in Columbia.
SH made a 75-mile bus ride from Three Springs, west of Harrisburg, to take on the Tide. Both teams were back on the field for the first time in two weeks after missing time because of coronavirus issues. In fact, the Rockets had to forfeit their District Six Class 2A first-round playoff game.
SH kicked the rust off quickest Monday, scoring on plays that covered 52, 79, 35, 39 and 35 yards, respectively, and the Rockets built a 24-8 first-quarter lead and never looked back.
Already up 30-16 at the half, SH (5-1) turned Columbia over on downs on the Tide’s first drive of the third quarter. One play later, Myers darted 39 yards for a TD, and the Rockets took a commanding 38-16 cushion with 9:31 to go in the third.
SH turned Columbia over on downs four times — three in the second half, when the Tide was in comeback mode and needed points. Alas, the Rockets came up with four interceptions, overcoming three turnovers of their own.
ROCKETS RED GLARE
SH wasted no time, with Myers zooming 35 yards for a TD just two minutes into the game. Columbia (4-3) knotted the game at 8-8 with 6:33 to go in the first quarter when Steven Rivas bolted six yards for a TD. Robert Footman’s 41-yard pass to Michael Poole set up Rivas’ run.
But SH answered with two more first-quarter scoring drives: Myers flipped a screen pass to Zach Hunsinger, who turned on the jets and raced 52 yards for a score. Later, after the Rockets and the Tide exchanged turnovers, Marino barreled 35 yards for a TD and a 24-8 edge.
SH took a cozy 30-8 lead with 7:50 to go in the half when Myers hit Marino for a 79-yard TD pass — after the Rockets thwarted a Tide drive with an interception in the end zone.
Columbia stopped the bleeding with 17 seconds to go in the second quarter on Footman’s 5-yard QB keeper and it was 30-16 at the break.
Footman passed for 127 yards and tacked on 70 rushing yards and Justin Elliott rushed for 73 yards as the Tide gobbled up 205 rushing yards in all. But the Tide ultimately couldn't overcome the four turnovers or the Rockets' penchant for big plays.
“I thought we came out kind of flat, and I’m not sure if that’s because we’ve had a couple of weeks off, or because this was a Monday game,” Columbia coach Bud Kyle said. “They set the tone early on, and we were able to come back and tie it. But we had a couple of interceptions that put us in some bad situations, and we were crawling back the whole night. … Our biggest thing now will be finishing this off for our seniors. We’ve added a game so those guys get to play one more game in a Columbia uniform.”
It’ll be a short week for Columbia, which will finish up its season on Friday with a trip to Pine Grove for a nonleague game against the Cardinals. PG beat Pequea Valley, the Tide’s L-L League Section Four rival, this past Friday.