It was an electric night for Columbia’s Robert Footman and J’von Collazo.
Unfortunately, the Crimson Tide's defense had no answer for the power running attack of Upper Dauphin.
More specifically, it was Christian Snyder they couldn’t stop.
The Trojans' senior running back scored four touchdowns, all in the first half, as Upper Dauphin built a big lead and held off a late charge to beat the Tide, 58-48, Friday night in a District Three Class 2A district semifinal in Columbia.
Footman and Collazo, both seniors, ended their Tide careers in record-setting fashion.
Collazo hauled in 11 passes for 357 yards, which broke the PIAA record for most receiving yards in a game. Of Collazo’s 11 catches, five were touchdowns.
Footman, meanwhile, completed 26 of 42 passes for 536 yards, while rushing for 99 more yards and a pair of touchdowns. He snapped the L-L League record for most passing yards in a game; Warwick grad Joey McCracken had a 530-yard passing night for the Warriors during his prep days.
“We knew we couldn’t stop them,” Upper Dauphin coach Kent Smeltz admitted. “We just tried to slow them down. That second half was wild. (Footman) is a heckuva player. We tried blitzing him, we tried playing coverage, but I guess we slowed him down just enough.”
The Trojans (9-1) led 44-12 at halftime, but the Tide erupted for 36 points after the break as Footman threw for 404 yards in the second half alone, including touchdown passes of 96, 81, 59 and five yards to Collazo.
“They’re two great guys who worked hard to get here,” Columbia coach Bud Kyle said of Footman and Collazo. “Those two guys made plays for us all year and tonight they put us on their backs.”
The two teams combined for 1,021 total yards, but it was UD’s 284 rushing yards that proved to be the difference. The Trojans rushed for 180 yards in the first half and got a 59-yard touchdown pass from Will Laskowski (one of his two completions in game) to Snyder, who added touchdown runs of 17, 2 and 23 yards.
A big play came on the first half’s final play when Columbia (8-2) had it at UD's 10, but Footman fumbled as he scrambled out of the pocket. The ball was recovered at the 29 by defensive lineman Austin Hartman, who ran about 10 yards before handing it to Brady Morgan, who completed the 71-yard return for a touchdown.
“The touchdown we gave up at the half was a key to the game,” Kyle said. “The kids played tough, they could have hung their heads but they didn’t.”
UD advances to next Friday’s championship game against York Catholic, a 43-7 winner over Susquenita in Friday’s other semifinal.