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Eagles knock off Vikings on road

RECEPTION: Huntington North’s Deven Newcomb fights off a tackler after making a reception during Friday’s game against Columbia City.

BY JACOB RUDE - sports@h-ponline.com

COLUMBIA CITY — As the Viking football team huddled on the field around the coaching staff at the end of Friday’s football game at Columbia City, an air of disappointment was noticeable. The disappointment came not simply because Huntington North lost 36-7 to Columbia City but because the Vikings entered with a mentality of winning.

And for a program that has lost 15 of its last 16 games, that mentality change was noticeable. A victory over Jay County and a strong showing against East Noble gave the Vikings optimism heading into Friday’s game. While the Eagles extinguished the flame on the night, for head coach Rick Burnau, the mental approach of his team remains undeterred.

“We’ve got a lot of kids out here that expect to win and expect to great every night,” Burnau said. “When that doesn’t happen, we’ve got to go back and push the reset button and try to figure this out.”

While the hosts landed the first haymaker on the night, Huntington North swung back with one of its own with Brett Kaylor finding a streaking Deven Newcomb for a 53-yard touchdown on the night to tie the game at 7-7 early in the second.

An 87-yard return on the ensuing kickoff quickly deflated the Vikings and an interception on the next drive did little to help as the Eagles turned both turnovers into points as part of a string of 17 unanswered points to close the half up 24-7.

Touchdowns on two of the opening three drives of the second half for Columbia City drove the nail into the coffin as the Eagles raced away to the win, handing Huntington North its third loss of the season.

“We came out flat. We really did,” Burnau said. “Offensively, we didn’t move the ball well at all. I think the defense played their butts off and their tails off in the first half there. They kept us in the game. They kept the score, even though it was 24-7 at half, it could have been worse because of the field position they had.

“We gave up some big plays again. We’ve got some things to figure out offensively and defensively. It’s gut check time for us and we’ll see what we can do.”

After a three-and-out from Huntington North to open the game, Columbia City’s Jacob Wigent ripped off a 40-yard run on the Eagles’ first play, an omen on the night. The Eagles would convert a fourth down in the red zone before eventually punching it in from three yards out to go up 7-0.

The two sides would trade punts before a Columbia City fumble on a reverse was recovered by Damon Kaylor in Eagle territory. Huntington North needed just three plays to tie the game as, on 3rd-and-12, Kaylor found Newcomb down the left sideline for a touchdown.

As quickly as the Vikings gained momentum, the Eagles seized it back as a big kickoff return set up a score before an interception deep in Huntington North led to another. The Eagles would continue to force Huntington North into punts while scoring on a 76-yard pitch and catch from Max Bedwell to Michael Sievers.

Columbia City added scores on a Bedwell one-yard run and a 44-yard reception from Doug Hill to wrap up the scoring. Huntington North crossed midfield just once in the second half, that coming on the final two plays of the night.

For Burnau, the struggles from the offensive line in establishing the run led to many of the struggles offensively on the night.

“We’ve got to be able to run the ball,” he said. “We just couldn’t do that tonight so we became one-dimensional passing the ball and that just sat on that and brought some pressure. Hats off to Coach Fox. He’s done a great job with this program.”

Kaylor finished the night 14-for-27 for 148 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Newcomb reeled in six passes for 85 yards and a score while Andrew Smekens caught seven passes for 55 yards.

Huntington North falls to 1-3 overall and 0-2 in Northeast 8 Conference play.

Eagles 36, Vikings 7

Vikings 0’ 7’ 0’ 0’ 7

Eagles 7’ 17’ 6’ 6’ 36

First quarter

CC – Bedwell 3-yard rush, kick good 8:37

Second quarter

HN – Newcomb 53-yard reception from Kaylor, kick good 9:54

CC – Sievers 3-yard rush, kick good 9:05

CC – Snyder 27-yard field goal good 6:58

CC – Sievers 76-yard reception from Bedwell 2:23

Third quarter

CC – Bedwell 1-yard rush, kick blocked 3:18

Fourth quarter

CC – Hill 44-yard reception from Bedwell, kick no good 14:52


Team statistics

Rushing – Huntington North 23-11, Columbia City 37-165 (3 touchdowns). Passing yards – Huntington North 153 (1 touchdown, 1 interception), Columbia City 157 (2 touchdowns). Total yards – Huntington North 299, Columbia City 412. Turnovers – Huntington North 1 (1 interception), Columbia City 2 (2 fumbles). Penalty yards – Huntington North 25, Columbia City 38.


Individual statistics

Rushing: Huntington North – Logan Hippensteel 16-11, Brett Kaylor 4-(-17), Lucas Lindsay 3-31. Columbia City – Jonathan Melton 3-(-2), Michael Sievers 4-(-5) (1 touchdown), Jon O’Dell 1-2, Brenden Schaper 2-14, TJ Bedwell 3-18, Jacob WIgent 11-100, Max Bedwell 3-3.

Passing: Huntington North – Kaylor 14-27-148 (1 touchdown, 1 interception), Keagan Landrum 1-1-5. Columbia City – Gregory Bolt 1-5-10, M. Bedwell 5-10-147 (2 touchdowns).

Receiving: Huntington North – Deven Newcomb 6-85 (1 touchdown), Andrew Smekens 7-55, Zach Hubartt 1-5, Lawson Shearer 1-8. Columbia City – Sievers 3-97 (1 touchdown), Jacob Bolt 1-10, Doug Hill 2-50 (1 touchdown).