Colby gets four INTs, remains undefeated
Colby took care of business at home last Friday night, downing Loyal 48-8 to win their final non-conference game of the regular season. The Hornets have started the season 4-0, and this victory extended their winning streak to 11 games going back to last year.
It was a game that, on paper, looked like a mismatch in Colby’s favor going into the contest. The Hornets were averaging north of 45 points per game and were 3-0, as opposed to the Greyhounds, who had been outscored 16-89 in their first three games of the season. The match-up played out much as expected, with the Hornets dominating Loyal on both sides of the ball.
The one-two punch of backfield teammates Caden Healy and Mateo Lopez led the way for Colby. Healy had an impressive performance on the ground, amassing 157 yards and three touchdowns on just eight rushing attempts. Big runs of 30, 40, and 66 yards, all of which went for touchdowns, highlighted the running back’s night.
“I thought senior running back Caden Healy had a really good night,” head coach Jim Hagen said. “He made some outstanding cuts downfield, which made a lot of defenders miss tackles.”
Lopez, meanwhile, had 63 yards on the ground on seven attempts, including a touchdown. He also notched the first score of the game when quarterback Tucker Meyer connected with him on a 32-yard touchdown pass. In addition to his contributions on the offensive side of the ball, Lopez intercepted a pass from Loyal’s Eli Zettler in the first half.
That was one of the four interceptions snagged by the Hornets’ defense Friday night.
The first was picked off early by senior defensive back Nathaniel Robida, who made a leaping grab on a pass intended for Cain Toufar around midfield. Colby, who was already up 14-0, turned the pick into points. A deep pass from Meyer to Tevin Rue just floated through a Greyhound defender’s outstretched arms and into Rue’s hands for a 31-yard pass that set up Lopez’s 11yard touchdown run.
Another interception came late in the first half. With the Greyhounds driving into Colby territory for the first time in the game, junior linebacker Erik Martinez stepped in front of a pass across the middle and picked it off to put an end to the threat.
The fourth came at the end of the third quarter, when linebacker Jacob Hoppe grabbed an errant throw in Loyal territory. The sophomore found paydirt, returning the interception 43 yards to put the Hornets up by 48 heading into the fourth quarter.
Even without the turnovers, Loyal’s offense struggled to move the ball. They only had 60 yards against the Hornet’s defensive unit in the first half, most of which came after Colby had taken out many of their starters. Senior defensive lineman Levi Dommer led the team in tackles with six, followed by Martinez who recorded five.
On offense, the Hornets spread the ball around, with nine different players recording touches. Rue registered the third most ground yards for the team, getting 50 yards on just three rushes, each of which went for a first down. He also had 52 yards on two catches, one of which was a touchdown, giving the senior over 100 yards of total offense on the night. Ivan Haemer and Tayt Smith also had three rushes each, going for 36 and 13 yards respectively.
It was an effective night for Colby’s passing attack. Meyer completed five of his seven pass attempts for 110 yards and two touchdowns. In addition to his connections with Rue and Lopez, he also found senior Kaden Wiese for 11 yards and Robida for 14 yards.
While it was a solid performance from the team all around, there were still some things to clean up as Colby heads into conference play. The Hornets had seven penalties for 59 yards, one of which brought back a Healy touchdown in the first quarter. While these ultimately did not have a huge impact on the overall results of this game, such penalties could prove to be difference makers in future games against tougher opponents.
The Hornets will face one such opponent this coming Friday when they travel to Edgar to take on the Wildcats. It will be the team’s first Marawood game of the season, the outcome of which will likely have large ramifications on who will end up as conference champions. Going into the season, the Hornets and the Wildcats were the favorites to win the conference and after four weeks of play, that very well could still be the case. Both teams are undefeated going into the game and both are ranked in the top five teams in the state for their respective divisions in the coaches poll. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.