Columbus coach Phil Marino didn’t start out his post-game speech with any words.
He opted to lead his coaching staff in a standing ovation for a defense that shutout Brookstone 21-0.
The Blue Devils defense allowed only eight first downs, forced two turnovers, didn’t allow a completion (on eight attempts) and held its rival to less than 175 yards total offense.
“Wow, just wow,” Marino said. “This was tremendous for a our football team, and it’s going to be a great boost for our defense. This was getting a monkey off our back.”
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Columbus (2-0) came into the game having lost its last three games to Brookstone including a 23-14 loss last year where the Cougars ran for more than 300 yards.
The goal for Marino’s team Friday night was to “control the tempo of the game,” and his defense did just.
“They got a lot better (from last year),” Brookstone running back Sam Ndem said. “They were much more physical, and faster.”
Ndem led the Cougars with 76 yards on 15 carries, but fumbled twice. He said the turnovers combined with a number of other mental errors -- penalties, and missed blocks in pass protection -- proved costly.
“We messed up a lot,” Ndem said.
Columbus jumped out to a lead on the first drive of the game with an impressive 13-play, 65-yard scoring drive, converting a pair of long fourth down attempts to get into the end zone.
Quarterback Derrick James hit Brandon Palmer for 21-yards on a fourth-and-10 to get inside the 20-yard line. Running back Ty Lucas scored on a fourth-and-six from the 8-yard line to give the Blue Devils a 7-0 lead with 3:38 to go in the first quarter.
James was 4 of 4 for 43 yards on the drive while Lucas carried the ball four times for 23 yards with the touchdown.
The rest of the half wasn’t as pretty for Columbus.
James had a pair of pass attempts slip out of his hand -- one was ruled incomplete, the other was ruled a fumble. The Blue Devils also missed a 25-yard field goal as time expired in the second quarter.
Brookstone’s (0-2) most promising drive of the half stalled inside Columbus’ 30-yard line thanks to a costly holding penalty.
Quarterback Russell Blanchard connected with Kordell Braxton for his first completion of the game down to the 15-yard line, but the flag wiped away what would have been a fresh set of downs.
The drive ended with a punt for the Cougars. Their other drives of the half ended with a fumble at midfield, and turnover on downs.
Neither team was able to muster much offense in the third quarter, but Columbus closed out the win with two touchdowns in the final six minutes. James ran it in from 2-yards out, and Issac had the team’s longest play from scrimmage with a 41-yard touchdown.
James finished the game 10 of 16 for 109 yards, and ran the ball nine times for 19 yards. Lucas led the Blue Devils with 61 yards on 10 carries.
“We still need to finish better, we can’t let points go,” Marino said. “We weren’t getting to their linebackers, we weren’t staying with our blocks and we started to lose that momentum. You saw that at the beginning of the second half, they had eight guys tackling the ball.”
Friday at Brookstone High School
Columbus 7 0 0 14
Brookstone 0 0 0 0
C - Ty Lucas 1 run (Ryan Anderson kick), 3:38
C – Derrick James 2 run (Anderson kick), 5:14
C – Lucas 41 run (Anderson kick), 0:23