OMAHA — Facing fourth and goal from inside the 1-yard line late in the first half, Columbus High head coach Craig Williams rolled the dice with his team trailing 19-7 against Omaha Skutt.
From a diamond formation, quarterback Michael Koch motioned under center and quick-snapped the ball, but the Skyhawk defense stoned him for no gain.
“You don’t just come into Skutt and run the ball down their throat,” Williams said. “They’re one of the most physical teams in the state."
The Skyhawks marched the ball 99 yards the other way in about a minute and a-half to go ahead 26-7 at the break and all but put Friday night's game out of reach.
Two second-half scores from fifth-ranked Skutt and the Skyhawks handed sixth-ranked Columbus its first loss of the season, 39-7.
It was a two-part dismantling by Skutt (4-2).
Columbus (5-1) turned the ball over four times on offense while the Skyhawks punished the Discoverer defense, rolling up 479 rushing yards and 556 total yards. Ben Zach ran for 162 yards on nine carries and Billy Higgins rushed for 147 yards on 15 carries.
On the other side of the ball, Skutt was the first team this season to successfully bottle up Koch. The senior ran for just 20 yards and passed for 192, but threw three interceptions.
Although Williams didn’t think he played poorly. One interception came on the final play of the first half and another came on a jump ball late in the game when he just tried to make something happen.
“He forced it a little bit more at times, but, to be honest, I wish he would have forced it a little more,” Williams said.
Caleb Esch had 41 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards for the Discoverers. Joey Braasch caught four passes for 141 yards, 75 of which came in the first quarter on a touchdown catch and run from Koch.
That put Columbus up 7-0. From there, it was all Skutt.
“We were put in situations today that we hadn’t been in before,” Williams said.
While he never wants lose, Williams admits Friday's game identified some weaknesses and will refocus the team the remainder of the season.
“We know there’s things to get better at,” the CHS coach said.
Columbus returns home next Friday for senior night against South Sioux City.