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Colby D dominates Beavers, 35-14

Colby D dominates Beavers, 35-14 Colby D dominates Beavers, 35-14

The Colby Hornets took a two hour trip to Cumberland on Friday to play the Beavers in a Level One play-off game. They returned home to Colby victorious by a score of 35-14.

Colby head coach Jim Hagen stated “Our players were so ready for this football game, in all aspects of the game. Defensively, we limited their big play capabilities and on offense we went to the ground game and just wore them down as the game went on.”

Colby took over on their 20-yard line on their first possession, but were forced to punt after six plays. Cumberland took over at their 40-yard line, and on their first play from scrimmage, junior linebacker Joe Hawthorne anticipated the pass and forced the Beavers quarterback to throw a backwards pass that was not completed.

Colby recovered the live ball with excellent field position at Cumberland’s 26-yard line. On the sixth play, Roman Schmitt threw a pass over the middle to senior wide receiver Harley Schmelzer for a 16-yard touchdown completion.

Schmelzer kicked the PAT, giving the Hornets a 7-0 lead with 6:42 left in the first quarter. Cumberland started their next possession at their 34-yard line, and with pressure from senior defensive end Connor Jeske, senior defensive back Gavino Lopez intercepted the pass, forcing the Beavers’ second turnover.

However, the Beavers then intercepted a Schmitt pass, giving them field position at Colby’s 40-yard line. The Beavers’ then went on a seven play drive, and scored from one yard out on a rushing touchdown. They failed to punch in the twopoint conversion, and Colby retained a 7-6 lead with 2:23 left in the first.

Sophomore Brent Jeske took the kickoff and went on a nice 25-yard return to the Hornet’s 42-yard line, but once again, Schmitt was intercepted, and the Beavers took over at their own 34-yard line.

Two plays later, Noah Robida intercepted his first pass of the evening, giving Colby good position at their own 46-yard line. The Hornets were forced to punt after seven plays, with Schmelzer booting an excellent punt that pinned the Beavers at their own two yard line.

The Hornets defense then forced the Beavers to punt after seven plays, setting up Colby with excellent field position at the Beavers’ 49-yard line. Finally, the Hornets’ offense came to life, and the offensive line opened up some nice holes for senior running back Tyler Klement.

On this series, Klement had runs of 13, 12 and 13 yards. Gavino Lopez capped off the drive by rushing into the end zone from three yards out. Schmelzer booted the PAT, giving the Hornets a 14-6 lead with 6:10 left in the second quarter.

Cumberland started their next possession at their own 34-yard line, and on the seventh play, a Colby defender knocked the ball loose and Robida jumped on the ball giving the Hornets field position at their own 34-yard line.

Colby went on a thirteen play drive with big runs from Lopez for 20-yards and Klement for 15-yards. Schmitt also connected through the air to Hawthorne for 20-yards, setting up a golden opportunity to score right before half. However, Cumberland stuffed Colby at the goal line twice as the clock ran out, ending the first half with Colby leading 14-6.

Hagen stated, “It was disappointing that we couldn’t punch it in right before halftime, as we executed our offense and clock management perfectly..”

Cumberland started possession in the second half from their own 20-yard line and the Hornets forced a punt after seven plays, taking over at their own 39-yard line. On the first play, Lopez bolted for 45-yards and he then finished off the ten play drive by scoring from one yard out. Schmelzer kicked the PAT, giving Colby a 21-6 lead with 4:16 left in the third.

Colby kicked off, and muffed the kick, bouncing it off a Beaver returner. Robida recovered his third fumble of the night giving the Hornets excellent field position at Cumberland’s 41-yard line.

Hagen stated, “To most fans, it appeared to be an on-side kick, when in reality, it was just a kick that was muffed by our kicker. Nevertheless, it certainly worked out in our favor, and we capitalized on the good field position.”

Six plays later, Lopez found the end zone for the third time from 12-yards out. Schmelzer kicked the PAT, giving Colby a comfortable 28-6 lead with 1:17 left in the third quarter.

Cumberland then started at their own 30-yard line, and six plays later, Robida intercepted his second pass of the evening deep in Hornets’ territory at their own 10-yard line.

The Hornets then flexed their muscles and went on a thirteen play drive meticulously rushing their way down the field. A big play in the drive was an 18-yard counter by Hawthorne on third down. Schmitt capped off the last scoring drive of the night for the Hornets on an 18-yard boot keep. Schmelzer once again booted the PAT, giving Colby a commanding 35-6 lead with 2:29 left in the game.

Cumberland started their last possession of the night at their own 35-yard line and scored on a pass play, along with scoring the two-point conversion, with only :47 left in the game. But the Hornets were victorious by a score of 35-14.

Colby amassed 415 yards of total offense, with 365 yards rushing and 50 yards passing. Lopez had 24 carries for 176yardsandthreetouchdowns.Klement had 29 carries for 147 yards. Schmitt was four out of eight passing, with 50 yards and one touchdown along with throwing two interceptions. Schmelzer had two catches for 22 yards and one touchdown while Hawthorne had one catch for 20 yards.

Cumberland meanwhile had just 196 yards of total offense, with only 49 yards rushing and 147 yards passing.

Hagen stated, “It was an awesome victory being a five seed, going on the road and beating a four seed . . . We worked so hard in practice recognizing all of their formations and knowing where their best player was at all times. Our defense really pressured their quarterback making him scramble much of the night, and Noah Robida had the game of his life, intercepting two passes and recovering three fumbles.

“Our line played well, and the one two punch of Lopez and Klement just wore down the Cumberland defense. Offensive Coordinator Robbie Smazal had an excellent game plan. I am just so happy for our players and coaches for this hard earned victory, and a shout out goes to all of our fans who traveled to cheer us on.”

Colby moves on to Level 2, and will play one seeded Regis at Carson Park in Eau Claire on Friday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m.