YORK TWP. — Those who left Edwin Steingass Field thinking the Buckeye football team had things in the bag with 4:26 remaining Friday missed one heck of an ending.
While Columbia didn’t pull out the win, falling 38-35 in a Patriot Athletic Conference crossover showdown, the Raiders certainly did everything in their power to keep Buckeye fans on the edge of their seats.
Down 10 points with under five minutes to play, the Raiders (3-2) got to work. Bailey Coleman scored on a 27-yard pass from Jared Bycznski with 3:55 remaining.
Columbia looked to be back in business after stopping Buckeye (4-1) on the Raiders 15 with 2:09 left.
The Raiders drove down the field and had the ball second-and-10 on the Buckeye 25 with 3.6 seconds remaining before Logan Schulz (two sacks) got his hand in the face of Bycznski, who threw the ball out of the back of the end zone under heavy pressure.
“That’s who they are, man,” Columbia coach Jason Ward said. “We’re a really good football team. We showed heart. We came up a little bit short to another really good football team.
“You start talking about heart and that’s all good and Rudy-like, but we’re not Rudy. We’re a really good football team. We showed that tonight and we came up a little bit short.”
That’s the truth.
Brandon Coleman had 17 carries for 191 yards rushing with three touchdowns and four catches for 59 yards, while Bailey Coleman had four catches for 76 yards and Bycznski was 8-for-15 passing for 135 yards and a TD.
For Buckeye, Jacob Doerge, had 24 carries for 110 yards rushing and two touchdowns and was 7-for-12 passing for 70 yards, while Dom Monaco had 12 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns and Anthony Watkins had seven carries for 50 yards, as well as four catches for 48 yards and an 85-yard kickoff return.
That it came down to a last-second stop caught the attention of Buckeye.
“They’re a really, really good team,” Bucks coach Greg Dennison said of the Raiders. “We knew we were going to have to do a lot of things well, knew we were probably going to have to outscore them, and score a lot of points, because their offense is that good. Our kids feel really good about this.
“This is a really good win for us. We told our kids after the game that we gave up some things defensively, but we made plays when we had to make plays.”
As ironic as it sounds in a 73-point game, Buckeye’s defense turned things around for the Bucks in a game that seemed destined for overtime with two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Columbia stuffed the Bucks on the 1 on fourth-and-goal to start the fourth quarter and looked like it had momentum until Mike Knoll made the second of his interceptions on a tipped pass at the line to give Buckeye the ball at the Columbia 7.
One play later, Doerge scored.
Undaunted, the Raiders moved the ball to midfield, but Bailey Coleman fumbled after a hard hit from Ryan Steppenbacker and Archer Treece recovered at the Buckeye 45 with 9:26 left.
Clay Gunkelman kicked a 32-yard field goal for the 10-point cushion and what proved to be the most important points of the ballgame.
“You never want to turn the ball over,” Ward said. “You never want to give the up the points (17) off the turnovers. It certainly doesn’t help.”
Undaunted by the loss, Columbia knows bigger things are ahead and is looking forward to the push toward a postseason appearance.
“This is the kind of test we want against a good team,” Brandon Coleman said. “They’re a great team. We fought hard. This will just help us in the playoffs. We’re just a mentally strong team. We keep playing until the last minute.”
Contact Brad Bournival at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Buckeye 38, Columbia 35
Columbia 7 14 7 7 — 35
Buckeye 7 14 7 10 — 38
C — Cole Schwartz, 1 run (Ben Skowronsky kick)
B — Dom Monaco, 6 run (Clay Gunkelman kick)
C — Brandon Coleman, 2 run (Skowronsky kick)
B — Anthony Watkins, 85 kickoff return (Gunkelman kick)
B — Jacob Doerge, 14 run (Gunkelman kick)
C — Coleman, 18 run (Skowronsky kick)
B — Monaco, 1 run (Gunkelman kick)
C — Coleman, 33 run (Skowronsnky kick)
B — Doerge, 7 run (Gunkelman kick)
B — Gunkelman, 32 field goal
C — Bailey Coleman, 27 pass from Jared Bycznski (Skowronsky kick)
First downs 23 20
Yards rushing 311 333
Yards passing 135 70
Total offense 446 403
Passes att./comp. 15/8 12/7
Intercepted by 0 2
Fumbles/lost 2/2 2/1
Penalties/yards 6/58 9/69
RUSHING — (C) Br. Coleman 17-191, Schwartz 15-69, Ben Alten 2-32, Bycznski 6-19. (B) Doerge 24-110, Monaco 12-98, Watkins 7-50, Armando Nigh 5-46, Brock Brumfield 1-19, Zack Weber 1-10.
PASSING — (C) Bycznski 8-15-135-2. (B) Doerge 7-12-70-0.
RECEIVING — (C) Ba. Coleman 4-76, Br. Coleman 4-59. (B) Watkins 4-48, Mike Knoll 1-18, Brumfield 1-7, Weber 1-(-3).