PREP FOOTBALL: Columbia steamrolls Suwannee 49-7
Columbia's loaded offense was uncontainable, but the defense was devastating. It was a disruptive unit all night, and helped the Tigers hold on to old Oaken Bucket.
The Tigers pounced on the Bulldogs, forcing four fumbles and two interceptions in an impressive performance Friday night. The combination of its menacing defense and attacking offense pushed Columbia to a 49-7 win over hated rival Suwannee.
It's certainly a confidence-booster for the defensive unit, which seemed outshined by the star-studded offense during last week's season opener win over Gainesville.
"I'm really proud of them," Columbia head coach Brian Allen said of the defense that tallied five sacks. "At the end of the day, we know that we have guys on both sides of the ball that are more than capable of getting it done every Friday night… I'm extremely proud of the effort. They competed and forced turnovers."
It didn't take long for Columbia (2-0) to do just that in its eleventh-straight victory over Suwannee (1-1). The Bulldogs' second drive was interrupted when defensive end Le'Vontae Camiel forced a safety, resulting in a two-possession lead early on.
"Coach [Felix] Woods and coach Bruce [Johnson], they preached turnovers, turnovers, turnovers," linebacker Jaylen Brown said. "Get the ball out. They wanted everyone running to the ball. Eleven hats to the ball. So we pretty much practiced that all week."
While Columbia's defense wrecked havoc, the offense was as good as advertised.
Star quarterback Jordan Smith recorded 238 passing yards and four touchdowns before halftime. His 2020 classmate running back Kylen Callum finished the night with 133 total yards and two touchdowns. Columbia wide receivers Marquez Bell, Bobby Fulton and Jaden 'Butter' Williams each reeled in a touchdown Friday night.
"I just wanted to execute and do my job," said Bell, who finished with a team-high105 receiving yards. "I wasn't really worried about scoring, as long as we win, and we did that. We executed. We left some mistakes out there but we got to clean that up for next week."
Columbia scored on five straight drives. The Tigers were back in the end zone only a couple minutes after Camiel's safety when Smith connected with Fulton for a 13-yard score. Jones' 34-yard catch on the ensuing Columbia drive set up Callum's first touchdown, coming on a one-yard punch in. Williams' 16-yard touchdown late in the opening period gave his team a commanding 28-0 lead entering the second.
It wasn't until after Bell's 62-yard foot-race midway through the second when the Bulldogs scored their first points in the series since 2016. Suwannee's best drive of the contest ended in a four-yard touchdown run by Jaquez Moore. The Tigers didn't waste anytime responding as Callum scored on a 73-yard run on the next drive. An interception by Shyheim Brown as time expired capped off a dominating first half.
"We're coming out playing together," Williams said after the game. "We're a team, instead of being selfish, we let that go, we play as a team."
Suwannee was unable to jump-start its offense after halftime. Columbia kept the unit contained, holding the Bulldogs to under 70 yards in the last 24 minutes. And it was the Tigers' ferocious defense that added the final score Friday night. Mike Scippio's 67-yard interception touchdown return topped off the outstanding outing.
“We went over in practice earlier how they would run certain curls and different things like that," the senior said. "I was just told to bite on it and I got it. I did my job and did what I was told to do.”