It was a familiar formula for Columbia at home on Friday night, with gritty defense and a powerful running game combining for a 31-21 win over previously unbeaten Freeburg.
Running back Lou Isringhaus continued his fine senior season, rushing for 168 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns plus 37 yards receiving and another score in a key Cahokia Conference victory.
Jonathan Holmes and JT Broshears were the stars on defense for the Eagles, each recording interceptions. Broshears added 6 tackles and 2 assists.
With the two teams playing even through much of the first quarter, a blocked punt by Connor Little set things in motion for Columbia. Starting at the Freeburg 31-yard line, Isringhaus ran it five times and kicker Greg Long connected on a 30-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead.
A muffed punt return by Columbia gave Freeburg the break it was looking for, and they capitalized. Starting from the Columbia 17-yard line, Freeburg quarterback Joseph Wolf eventually ran it in from 1 yard out to make it 7-3 Midgets.
Long passes by Columbia quarterback Jacob Hill of 35 yards to Chris Wagner and 27 yards to Lamont Reed led to a 9-yard TD run by Isringhaus and a 10-7 Columbia advantage. The score would stay that way heading into halftime.
For the game, Hill went 11-for-16 passing for 177 yards and a TD and also rushed 13 times for 50 yards.
A 24-yard touchdown pass from Hill to Isringhaus made it 17-7 with 4:41 remaining in the third quarter. Freeburg answered, as a 40-yard pass from Wolf to Mitchell Speiser led to a short TD run by Wolf to make it 17-14 late in the third quarter.
Freeburg attempted an onside kick, which failed and gave Columbia the ball on Freeburg’s 46-yard line. An Isringhaus 15-yard TD run made it 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Columbia defense forced Freeburg to punt, and Columbia’s offense chewed up both clock and yardage with Kenny Fields poking it in from 1-yard out for a commanding 31-14 lead.
Freeburg added a late touchdown to make it a 31-21 final.
Read more on the game in next week’s Republic-Times newspaper.