The Columbia Eagles got off to a slow start Friday night in a battle of 7-1 teams, but kicked it into high gear in the second half to pull away and beat the Nashville Hornets, 45-22, at home on Senior Night.
Senior running back Lou “The Hammer” Isringhaus made the most of his final regular season home game, scoring 5 touchdowns and rushing for 229 yards on 18 carries to pace an explosive Eagles offensive attack.
Nashville moved the ball well on the Eagles in the first quarter, but missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs at the Columbia 23 as neither team could punch it in. The first quarter ended in a scoreless tie.
Columbia finally got on the board with 6:42 to go in the second quarter on an Isringhaus TD.
Nashville scored with 1:16 to play in the quarter and their 2-point try was successful to put them ahead 8-7.
Columbia drove to the Hornets 2-yard line and added a field goal with 5 seconds to go in the half, taking a 10-8 lead into the locker room.
“We have been slow starting all season, but we tell the kids to be patient. Keep leaning on them and get them tired,” Columbia head coach Scott Horner said. “That was our plan, to wear them down, then take advantage in the second half with our quickness.”
That is exactly what happened in the second half. After the Hornets scored to go up 14-10, the Eagles offense — aided by some timely forced fumbles from the defense — took over the game.
The Eagles answered with a 57-yard TD run from elusive senior quarterback Jacob Hill to go up 17-14 with 5:56 to go in the third. Hill finished with 100 yards rushing on 9 carries and went 7-for-14 passing for 84 yards.
After the Eagles defense stopped the Hornets, Columbia scored again on a 31-yard run by Isringhaus to open up a 24-14 lead as the third quarter came to a close.
Nashville fumbled to start the fourth quarter and Isringhaus scored to give the Eagles a 31-14 lead.
The Columbia defense got another turnover and Isringhaus scored his second TD in less than 2 minutes as the Eagles took command of the game at 38-14.
“The Hammer” added a 56-yard TD on the Eagles’ next possession for his final TD of the game and third of the quarter, giving Columbia the lead 45-14.
Nashville added a late score as the Eagles won 45-22.
“What we do in the offseason and the summer is why we won this game. We wore them down in the second half and this is a team who usually wears down teams in the second half and we wore them down,” Horner said. “They are not the No. 6 team in the state in Class 3A for nothing, They are a very good football team. I was convinced we could not stop them and we did. I’m very proud of this team.”
Zach Braun led the Columbia defense with 7 tackles and 2 assists. JT Broshears and Owen Suedkamp added 6 tackles and 6 assists apiece.
Columbia (8-1) will host Althoff (6-3) in the IHSA Class 4A playoffs this Saturday at 1 p.m. with the chance to avenge last year’s first round playoff loss.
Althoff defeated Columbia last year at CHS, 35-14.