STEENS — The situation was desperate for the Columbus Christian Academy football team, trailing by two and facing fourth-and-10 near midfield with five minutes left in the game against Christian Collegiate Academy.
Drake Shaw was up to the challenge, and the result was a wild 34-30 victory for the Rams Friday night in the opening game for both schools..
The junior quarterback was forced out of the pocket and went scrambling. He raced up the field and toward the left sideline, reaching the Bulldogs’ 39. Twelve yards, first down Rams.
“Basically, we were just trying to get the ball downfield,” Shaw said. “We were trying to get a first down, and I knew if we didn’t get it on that it might have been it for the game. Our team did a good job of blocking when they saw I was running. We kept going, kept pushing and got past that first down marker.”
Rejuvenated by the new set of downs, Shaw then hit Caleb Farlow for 13 yards and found McCory Humphries on a little swing pass on the right side that Humphries, twisting away from would-be tacklers, turned into a nine-yard gain.
Jonah Harrison took it from there, sweeping left into the end zone with 3:25 to go. The junior said he knew when he took the handoff that he would score on the play.
“No, I didn’t,” he started to say after the game. “Wait, I take that back. Yeah, I did. Caleb did some good blocking, and it just worked out.”
It took just two minutes of game time for the Rams to go from almost down and out to almost ready to celebrate, and that’s the kind of mental toughness that first-year coach Rusty Mason was thrilled to see.
“I’m really proud of the fight in our kids,” first-year Columbus Christian coach Rusty Mason said. “They had some athletes, they had a lot of skill, and we kept fighting. But we’ve got a lot of work to do.”
The Rams were behind before that final drive because of a 100-yard interception return by Sean Fairley as the Rams were looking for a two-score lead. But Columbus Christian’s resilience after that dramatic turn of events summed up the Rams’ night. They gave up big plays; they made big plays. They suffered emotionally crushing blows; they dealt crushing blows. It was that kind of game, taking three hours to play despite the 10-minute quarters.
“We throw the Tebow pass, and we throw it low,” Mason said of the interception in the end zone. “A mental mistake, had him open, throw it low, they pick it, go all the way back, and we’ve got to come back down the field and fight again. A lot of resolve from the kids tonight.”
The wild finish and dramatic victory didn’t hide the mistakes each team made. And Mason won’t have a problem convincing his players of the need to correct them.
“We had a lot of good plays,” Shaw said.