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Columbus Defense Dominates Palmetto

By Eddie Lopez

Source: CCHS IG and CCNN

This Saturday your Columbus Explorers took on the district rival Palmetto Panthers in a game troubled by rainy weather in Tropical Park. Both teams came into the game 3-0 and looked to win their 4th straight.

First Quarter

The First drive of the game for the Panthers was cut short by the Explorers defense who got them to punt. The Explorer’s first drive started off with a big gain of 39 yards by Jose Leon on the fake handoff. Then, Explorer’s running back Agyeman Addae exploded for a 28 yard gain into the goal line and the team scored on a 4 yard touchdown pass to receiver Rocco Bradley. 7-0 Explorers.

Video provided by Sebastian Broche, CCNN Live

The Explorers defense was able to shut down Palmetto again and force a punt after Daylen Russell and Willis McGahee combined for a sack. Then, just as Palmetto was getting ready to punt, junior defensive tackle Hezekiah Downs came flying in and blocked the punt in the endzone . 9-0 Columbus.

To start the next drive the Explorers defense was dominant once again. After a false start and then a sack by Daylen Russell the defense was able to cause another 3 and out for the Columbus defense. The next drive was filled with flags as Columbus drew 2 false starts. Then, Alberto Mendoza was able to find Jose Leon for a big gain but they were still short of the first down.

End the first quarter.

Source: CCHS IG and CCNN

2nd Quarter

To start off the second quarter, the Explorers decided to go for it on 4th down but Alberto Mendoza was sacked and it was a turnover on downs. It wasn’t a problem for the defense however as they were able to stop the Panthers yet again for another 3 and out. Explorer‘s running back Edward “Speedy” Bandy was able to get a huge gain into Panthers territory. After a offsides flag on the Panthers defense, the Explorers were able to score on a 27 yard touchdown to tight end Benjamin Blackburn with about 9 minutes left in the first half. Explorers extend the lead 15-0.

Video provided by Sebastian Broche, CCNN Live

The Explorers went for 2 but Mendoza was sacked on the play. The next drive for the Explorers offense started off with a big gain for Edward Bandy into Panthers territory. A Lightning delay was called with about 5 minutes to go. The game resumed after about 25 minutes and went into halftime shortly after.

Source: CCHS IG and CCNN

3rd Quarter

Unfortunately, during half time the game went into delay for about two hours due to inclement weather. Once play resumed both defenses came out looking good. Palmetto was able to get an interception on Alberto Mendoza in the end zone and the Explorers defense was able to recover a fumble from Palmetto and start the 4th quarter in Panthers territory.

4th Quarter

The fourth quarter was once again a great showing of defense as Columbus was able to force a turnover on downs from a sack by Daylen Russell. The score remained 15-0 Columbus to finish the game.

Source: CCHS IG and CCNN

Postgame notes

Despite a couple of weather delays, the Explorers were able to come out on top of Palmetto again for their 4th straight win and remain undefeated.

The defense was dominant and was headlined by a great performance from Daylen Russell, Hector Chavez Jeff Bandy and Bryce Fitzgerald.

Bandy, who recently committed to Brown University had this to say after the Explorer’s win:

“Stop saying we're overrated, we really do this for real."

Coach Trujillo, defensive coordinator, had some nice words to say about the defense.

“I think we only gave up defensively one first down, so I’m really happy with the kids and the coaches. The coaches put a lot of hard work into this and it's starting to show," he said.

The Explorers take on Northwestern this Friday in Tropical Park at 7 p.m.

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