First win for many players
By KATHY GIERER
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
Columbus High senior wide receiver James Traylor stood amidst the joyous celebration after the Blue Devils' 35-13 victory over rival Northside and echoed the sentiments of his fellow players and students.
"We were tired of losing," Traylor said.
The victory snapped a 19-game losing streak, the longest in the area. For many of the young Devils, it was their first high school win.
Two players who experienced the thrill of victory for the first time played key roles in the Devils' win. Traylor was on the receiving end of two Derrick James touchdown passes. James is a sophomore, as is defensive back Essang Bassey, who had three key interceptions on the evening.
In addition to the James-to-Traylor connection, junior running back Dale Williams scored a pair of touchdowns, and junior running back Ivan Rome scored one.
"James was the main receiver on both touchdowns," James said. "He gets open and makes the reads. This feels really good because it's my first high school win. We knew we had to win since we're going into the region."
Traylor scored on passes of 35 and 21 yards, both of which James dropped right into his hands.
"We used play action to set it up," Traylor said. "We like to use our speed and skills and set up the running game. It was great to come out here and get a complete effort from everybody."
Bassey, generously listed at 5-10, got a career high three interceptions. He was atoning for an error in the Devils' first game of the season.
"In the first game I let up on a pass," Bassey said. "I made a promise not to let it happen again."
Bassey didn't think the Patriots picked on him because of his size.
"We have two short cornerbacks," Bassey said with a laugh. "I'm actually the taller of the two."
Bassey's interceptions all came at key moments in the contest. The first occurred when the Devils led 21-0 midway the first quarter. The second came when the Patriots were driving in the last minute of play before halftime. The final one happened with just over 8 minutes to play near the goal line.
Northside struggled offensively early in the game, not picking up a first down until late in the first half.
The Patriots scored on a 44-yard run by Larry Gilyard with 2:24 left in the first half. Gilyard burst through the line and streaked toward the end zone to pull Northside to within two touchdowns, 21-7.
The large crowd on both sides of Kinnett Stadium witnessed not only the end of the Devils' 19-game losing streak; Columbus had lost 5 in a row to the Patriots.
Northside leads the series 7-3.
Northside's record drops to 1-3 and Columbus is now 1-2.
Friday at Kinnett Stadium
Northside 0 7 0 6--13
Columbus 14 7 7 7--35
Columbus--James Traylor 35 pass from Derrick James (Ryan Anderson kick) 9:32
Columbus--Traylor 21 pass from James (Anderson kick) 1:58
Columbus--Dale Williams, Jr. 19 run (Anderson kick) 5:88
Northside--Larry Gilyard 44 run (Nathan Robertson kick) 2:24
Columbus--Ivan Rome 34 run (Anderson kick) 5:20
Columbus--Williams 8 run (Anderson kick) :54
Records: Northside 1-3, Columbus 1-2. Next: Northside, at Russell County, Friday, 8 p.m. Columbus, at Carrollton, Friday, 7:30 p.m.