Saturday, November 25, 2017 Elyria 49°

The Blitz

High school football: Columbia gets off on wrong foot, never rights itself in season-ending first loss against Chippewa


Steve Walker

The Chronicle-Telegram

COLUMBIA STATION — Things didn’t start well for Columbia on Saturday night. And they didn’t end well either.

Before Columbia even got an offensive possession, Chippewa scored two quick touchdowns to take the momentum and eventually run away with a 62-28 win in a Division V, Regional 16 quarterfinal.

Nick Zollinger’s 8-yard touchdown run and Bailey Breitenstine’s 60-yard TD pass to Stoney Epling gave Chippewa a 14-0 lead before the Raiders’ offense even touched the ball.

“We’re not going to sit on our heels, we’re always going to press the issue,” Chippewa coach Mike Bohley said afer his team improved to 9-2. “We didn’t plan that. Out of 10 games this season, we’ve deferred the ball eight times. We’re a defensive gut team, but they deferred to us and we were fortunate to take an early lead.”

After Zollinger’s TD run, Columbia muffed the ensuing kickoff to set up the Chipps’ second score.

When the Raiders (10-1) finally got their chance, quarterback Jay Banyasz scored in a hurry, capping off a 3-play, 54-yard drive

with a 3-yard TD run. The score was set up by a 37-yard Banyasz pass to Tristen Rindfleisch.

“It was tough, it avalanched on us for a little bit,” Columbia coach Jason Ward said. “We told the guys it was going to take more than 14 points to beat us. We just never sharpened up.”

The Raiders defense held the Chipps at bay for the rest of the first quarter and while Columbia appeared to be driving for the game-tying drive, Banyasz threw an interception that was returned by Epling for a 51-yard touchdown to extend Chippewa’s lead to 21-7 early in the second quarter.

It was the first interception Banyasz had thrown all season.

“Mistakes were the difference, no doubt about it,” Columbia’s Jacob Kleinhenz said. “Chippewa was a very physical team and they definitely played more physical than us.”

Columbia was able to cut the deficit back to a touchdown when Tyler Edmisten caught a 12-yard TD pass from Banyasz on a fourth-down play, but Zollinger returned the ensuing kickoff 87 yards for another touchdown to put the Chipps back up two scores, 28-14.

Kleinhenz ripped off a 23-yard touchdown run with 2:51 left in the second quarter to cut the deficit to 28-21, but the Chipps answered with a 5-yard TD pass from Breitenstine to Matt Blair with five seconds left to go into halftime up 35-21.

“We kept trading punches, we’ve been there before,” Ward said. “We got beat by a better football team. In the long run, we couldn’t overcome our mistakes and could not execute to beat Chippewa.”

Kleinhenz scored on a 3-yard run to start the third quarter to cut the deficit to seven, but that was the last time the Raiders found the end zone.

Chippewa rattled off 27 unanswered points to close the game.

Kleinhenz had 123 yards on 21 carries and a pair of TDs, while Banyasz was 19-of-36 for 160 yards and a TD pass, but threw three interceptions, including two that were returned for touchdowns.

“You never want to go out like that after going 10-0,” Kleinhenz said. “It’s a tough loss, but we’re proud of having an undefeated season. It’s something to hang our hats on.”

Contact Steve Walker at 329-7135 or

Chippewa 62, Columbia 28

Chippewa 14 21 7 20 — 62

Columbia 7 14 7 0 — 28


Ch — Nick Zollinger, 8 run (Adam Vasilatos kick)

Ch — Stoney Epling, 60 pass from Bailey Breitenstine (Vasilatos kick)

Co — Jay Banyasz, 4 run (Sebastian Heuniche kick)

Ch — Epling, 51 interception return (Vasilatos kick)

Co — Tyler Edmisten, 12 pass from Banyasz (Heuniche kick)

Ch — Zollinger, 87 kickoff return (Vasilatos kick)

Co — Jacob Kleinhenz, 23 run (Heuniche kick)

Ch — Matt Blair, 5 pass from Breitenstine (Vasilatos kick)

Co — Kleinhenz, 3 run (Heuniche kick)

Ch — Bo Whetsell, 9 run (Vasilatos kick)

Ch — Epling, 12 pass from Breitenstine (Vasilatos kick)

Ch — Zollinger, 62 run (kick failed)

Ch — Austin Durbin, 44 interception return (Vasilatos kick)

Team statistics

Ch Co

First downs 14 21

— by rushing 9 9

— by passing 4 9

— by penalty 1 3

Yards rushing 231 160

Yards passing 179 160

Total offense 410 320

Passes att./comp. 17/8 38/19

Intercepted by 3 0

Fumbles/lost 0/0 1/1

Penalties/yards 6/55 6/30

Individual statistics

RUSHING — (Ch) Whetsell 18-118, Nick Zollinger 9-94, Breitenstine 5-14, Zack Zollinger 2-5, Josh Miller 1-2. (Co) Kleinhenz 21-123, Banyasz 11-37.

PASSING — (Ch) Breitenstine 8-16-179-3-0. (Co) Banyasz 19-36-160-1-3.

RECEIVING — (Ch) Epling 2-72, N. Zollinger 2-47, Blair 2-31, Trent Able 1-21, Durbin 1-8. (Co) Edmisten 4-42, Tristen Rindfleisch 2-39, Michael Boey 6-26, Austin Walaszewski 2-19, Ben Verbus 1-16, Kleinhenz 1-12, Jesse Lambert 2-5, Banyasz 1-1.

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