COLUMBUS — The Columbus Titans appear to be on a roll. After destroying the Riverton Rams two weeks ago they came into Friday night’s game with the vaunted Galena Bulldogs with just that one win under their belt and their tails up.
Four quarters later the Titans had their second win and the Bulldogs were no longer undefeated, falling 19-16.
Titan Head Coach Dan Grundy said his team has undergone a complete philosophical shift — from a team known for a high-flying spread offense to a running game that rivals any in the area.
And run it they did Friday night, racking up 225 yards rushing and averaging nearly five yards per carry.
“I feel like (Galena Head) Coach (Beau) Sarwinksi (has) the most physically coached team in this part of the state,” Grundy said. “I feel very confident if we can run the ball against them we can run the ball against anybody.
“I think it’s a good change for us.”
As a team the Titans had 319 yards of total offense, including 94 yards passing on just three completions — most of it in the first half.
Galena, by contrast, had just 251 yards of total offense, much of it in the scoreless second half.
And that was the key to the game. The Titans dominated most of the first half, particulary the first quarter when the Bulldogs had just four plays.
On their first drive of the game the Titans went 55 yards, after a squib kick on the opening kickoff, in just 8 plays for a touchdown on a six yard run by Quarterback Nate Bole. The PAT kick failed and the score was 6-0
The Bulldogs went four-and-out and after a booming punt, Columbus marched 70 yards in 15 plays running 6:50 off the clock for another touchdown, on a 19 yard run by Bole. The PAT again failed and the score was 12-0.
Galena’s next drive ended when AJ Randle picked off a pass from Galena Quarterback Nick Sivert shortly into the second quarter.
Columbus punted on their next drive, but Galena was finally able to get on the board after a 13-play 36-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard pass from Sivert to Logan Johnson. The two point conversion succeeded and the Bulldogs were within four.
With just 1:32 left in the half however, Bole connected with Jordan Morgan for a 67 yard touchdown pass and Taylor Watkins kick was good leaving the Titans up 19-8.
Just 16 seconds later, however Sivert made a 34 yard touchdown strike and after a PAT run by Jacob Helton the score going into the half was 19-16.
In the second half neither team was able to get much going, and both teams were held scoreless giving Columbus their second win of the season.
Sarwinski said he was proud of his team.
“I was proud of our team for our effort and battling all night long,” he said. “We just can not turn the ball over and we have to do a better job of making the most of opportunities.”
Columbus faces the St. Mary’s-Colgan Panthers in Pittsburg Friday night, Galena is on the road against the undefeated Girard Trojans.