COLUMBUS - Baxter Springs started the game with a lost fumble on their first play against the Columbus Titans in their district play match up Friday night. The game didn’t get any better for the Lions as they were shut out 41-0.
The Lion's defense stopped the Titans on their first two possessions, and forced the Columbus to punt early. After the second punt the Titans scored on a 31-yard Ridge Smith pass to Allen Jones, who took it up the left sideline.
The next four touchdowns came on a short field after a Lion punt. The Lions starting quarterback/punter was injured and was not suited for the game. This facet reared it’s ugly head the entire game.
After a quarterback sack by Jace Flood, Keenan Stanley broke through the line, going 68 yards for the second TD. Columbus’ Zach Porter recovered the ensuing on-side kick off, but an interception by Koby Stark gave the ball back to Baxter Springs. Again, the Lions were forced to punt, and it was short.
Titan touchdown number three was next when Porter caught a Smith screen pass, and went untouched from 37 yards out. Clay Saporito snagged a Smith pass at the 25 and scored from there. The Titan's last touchdown in the first half came on Stanley’s 66-yard run.
At the 2:29 mark, in the third quarter, Columbus upped their points to 41 when Dakota Sears caught a Smith pass at the 17 yard line, and scooted down the right sideline. Smith made all of his PAT kicks except one.
Smith also passed for 207 yards for the game. The Titans finished with 243 yards on the ground with Stanley’s 204.
The Titans stopped the Lion offense dead cold. Baxter Springs had a net two yards rushing, and did not complete a pass. Tommy Shallenburger led the Titans with nine tackles. Jared Graham had two interceptions.
Baxter Springs did have some shining moments on defense. Blythe Ipock had six tackles, a quarterback sack, and a tackle for a loss. A.J. Himes finished with nine tackles, including one for a loss. Stephan Namelo had five tackles, and an interception. In addition to his QB sack, Flood had three tackles, and Tyrae Skye finished with four tackles.
Round two of District 4 play continues this Friday evening with scheduled 7 p.m. kick-offs. Baxter Springs (4-3) travels to Parsons (0-7). Columbus (6-1) travels to Frontenac (4-3). The last match up will be Parsons going to Columbus, and Frontenac coming to Baxter Springs. The top two in each district will move on, so the spots are still wide open.