Missed opportunities plague Columbus

By Doug Brenneman,


COLUMBUS JUNCTION -- If. It?s such a small word, yet it conveys so much. ?If? played a large part in the outcome of the Columbus Community High School football game Friday against GMG of Garwin.

If. If Columbus could have converted a fumble recovery on GMG?s first possession, it could have seized control of the game.

If. If Columbus had not let a pass slip through a receiver?s hands on its second possession and be intercepted, the Wildcats could have scored first.

If. If Columbus hadn?t thrown a pass that was intercepted at the goal line after eight straight running plays had gained 56 yards, the Wildcats could have matched GMG?s first touchdown.

If. If the Wildcats had as many seniors on the their team as GMG, it would have been a different ballgame.

If. There is so much potential in such a small word, but the Wildcats couldn?t capitalize and Columbus lost a 32-0 decision to GMG.

One of GMG?s 12 seniors, Brock Baldazo, rushed 18 times for 188 yards. Another senior, Blaze Krull, had 14 carries for 111 yards.

?We knew coming in that we only had two seniors, so my staff and I are looking at this as a learning situation,? Columbus coach Scott Symmonds said. ?My seniors did everything they could to help this team win. We are young and we will struggle, but that is not an excuse.?

Columbus seniors Chance Colby, quarterback, and Jose Cerezo, running back, did all they could for the Wildcats.

?Our seniors do everything,? Symmonds said. ?They do everything we ask of them and more. They both had problems cramping up and that was because they are going a hundred miles an hour. They were putting everything they could, everything they had, out on the field and I told them I am so proud of them.?

Colby finished with 115 yards rushing on 25 carries. Cerezo had 18 yards on nine carries.

Colby had seven tackles on defense while Cerezo had six. Junior Jaime Villegas led the Wildcats with 10.

?It doesn?t help the two seniors, but we are getting good numbers,? Symmonds said. ?We look at it as an opportunity. Of our 29 players, 19 are freshmen or sophomores.?

One of two crucial drives in the game started when Villegas recovered a fumble at the Wildcats? 15 in the first quarter. A penalty put the ball at the 7. The Wildcats drove to the Wolverines 42 before the interception ended the drive.

Another drive started at the Columbus? 29 in the second quarter after the Wolverines had scored for a 16-0 lead. A first-and-10 pass at the Wolverines? 15 was intercepted at the goal line.

Mason Hodges recovered a fumble to get the ball back on the next play, but a turnover on downs ended the opportunity to score.

?The scoreboard would look different if we could?ve converted there,? Symmonds said. ?That would?ve given the kids more motivation. I saw a lot of improvement in my team. Despite the score, I think we improved. We have a lot of underclassmen playing and I think they grew quite a bit. Playing freshmen is a reality, not just for me, but for a lot of schools this size.?

Columbus is 0-2 and hosts Louisa-Muscatine Friday.