Narrow victory leaves Bulldogs undefeated and gives Titans first loss of season

GALENA - The Bulldogs haven't beaten Columbus in the last five years, including a 37-36 heartbreaking loss last year. This past Friday night both teams entered the contest 5-0, tied for the top spot in the CNC League. After four well-fought quarters it was Galena who remained on top, winning 33-29.

"It was a tough game to win, and a tough game to lose," said Galena Head Coach Beau Sarwinski. "If you paid to see the game, it was worth every dime. I’m glad we ended up on the right side."

Galena controlled the first six minutes, marching from the Titans 29 to score after the kick-off on their first possession of the game. With runs by RB Joseph Helton, and QB J.C. Shelton, the Bulldogs got into Titan territory up to the 23. RB Kooper Lawson on a pitch back went to the 16. Helton and Shelton ran to the eight. Lawson went right to the one, and Helton scored from there.

"Columbus had a few mistakes at first, and we capitalized," said Coach Sarwinski.

On the Titan's first possession, after playing over six minutes on defense, the Bulldog's Ethan Henson recovered a fumble on the Titans 14. Afterwards Shelton and Helton moved their team again to the one yard line. With 3:26 left in the opening period, Shelton scored on a keeper.

After the kick-off, the Titan's Keenan Stanley, who finished the game with 259 rushing yards on 20 carries, went from the 21 to their 36 right sideline. Stanley showed his running ability and speed went 64 yards to pay dirt. QB/Kicker Ridge Smith converted on his PAT kick to put the score at 12-7.

Galena scored again on their next control of the ball after Columbus was unable to move the chains and was forced to punt. The Bulldogs went from their 36 to the seven. Again, Shelton called his number for the touchdown. After Garrett Hall’s kick, Galena led 19-7.

The Titans were forced to punt again after Lawson’s tackle for a lose. Shelton took the punt all the way to the house for his third touchdown of the quarter. With Hall’s kick, Galena was up 26-7.

Columbus came back to end the half at 26-14. Stanley took the kick-off from the 11 to his 45. He again showed his tenacity and broke off for a 55-yard TD. Smith completed his PAT kick.

With five minutes gone in the third quarter Galena was forced to punt, but was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Columbus was now at the Bulldogs 40. Stanley went to the 35, then scored from there, and after another kick by Smith the Titans were down only 26-21.

After the kick-off Galena had three penalties in four plays, and was forced to punt. A bad snap and a hurried kick put Columbus in good field position at Galena’s 43. Smith moved his team to the 19, and Zach Porter ran to the eight. Stanley juked his way to the five. A fumble put the Titans back to the 10, but Stanley brought them right back to the five. On fourth down Drake Adams stopped the drive.

At the start of the fourth quarter Columbus had good field advantage after a Bulldog punt to Galena’s 47. After Stanley’s and Smith’s runs, and a catch from Smith to Dakota Sears, Smith moved them to the five yard line. A 2-point conversion run by Grayson Walden put Columbus ahead for the first time of the game 29-26.

Two minutes later Galena went back ahead 33-29. With the ball on the three ,Shelton went over left tackle to score, and again Hall was good on his kick.

Columbus controlled the ball the remainder of the game starting at their 30. Stanley and Walden ran to their 46. Walden crossed the center line to Galena’s 43, then the Titans went to the 40. It was 4th-and-8 with two minutes left, when Kale Smith caught a pass at the 21. Porter then went to the 19. With 35.9 seconds on the clock and no time outs left, Hall broke up a pass in the end zone intended for Kale Smith as they both leaped. Drake Adams ended the game with a quarterback sack.