Columbia vs. Waterloo: who will prevail?

Columbia’s Jacob Hill breaks free from a Wood River defender Friday night. (Alan Dooley photo)

With just one game under their belts so far this season, the Waterloo Bulldogs (1-0) and Columbia Eagles (1-0) football teams will battle it out on the gridiron in one of the area’s most epic rivalry games of the year.

Last year, the teams met on the new turf CHS multipurpose field in what seemed like a monsoon. In the pouring rains, the Bulldogs pulled out the 21-14 victory.

As the Eagles and Bulldogs gear up for Friday’s contest, both teams are expecting a physically and mentally challenging contest. Waterloo is hoping to notch its fifth Route 3 rivalry win in a row.

“Columbia is a great football team with athleticism and size,” Waterloo head coach Dan Rose said. “We will have to prepare to play very disciplined with our assignments and responsibilities.

“Columbia is capable of long drives as well as big plays, so we will need to play smart.”

A Herrin defender tries to bring down Taylor Vernier during Friday’s opener in Waterloo. Vernier scored the first touchdown of the game, and season, on a 13-yard rush. (John Spytek photo)

Columbia head coach Scott Horner predicts the game will come down to turnovers.

“The team that doesn’t turn the ball over will likely come out ahead,” he said.

“Our kids will be jacked and so will theirs, so it should be a great game,” Horner added.

Kickoff for Friday’s game is 7 p.m. in Waterloo.

Follow the Republic-Times on Twitter — @republictimes — and on Facebook — /RepublicTimes — to receive scoring updates from this game and others throughout the area. Be sure to check back this weekend for an area football recap.

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