The Columbus Discoverers football team defeated the Fremont Tigers on Friday night, 28-14, overcoming three fumbles and finding a way to deliver a win on Homecoming.

"I thought the last drive before halftime we really grew up. We put the ball on the ground three times with fumbles, we had a couple dropped pass, but the same group of kids come out, and blew all that off," said head coach Craig Williams." They knew we needed a drive before halftime, and they came out and punched one in to tie the game up. Knowing we got the ball back to start the second half."

Columbus High scored first for a 7-0 lead, but after the three turnovers, found itself trailing 14-7 with just minutes until halftime.

After forcing a punt thanks to two Tiger false starts and a holding penalty, the Discoverers took the ball back and drove for the game-tying score on a 1-yard plunge by Joey Braasch.

"We just had to talk to (Braasch) and say, 'All these guys are out here for you, we're all out here for each other,' "Williams said about his message to Braasch after the fumbles. "We just had to get him calmed down a little bit, because he was frustrated with himself. He has high expectations for himself. When he went back out there he made an adjustment.

"I thought he had a great second half, he took a big step forward and learned how to play running back."     

That momentum carried over into the second half where Braasch capitalized on the first drive of the third quarter with a 21-yard run that gave his team a 21-14 advantage.

The Discoverers' defense then came up big by forcing a three-and-out and the special teams unit set up the offense at its own 45.

The Tiger D then made its own mark, getting to Columbus quarterback CJ Fleeman for a 7-yard loss after a bad snap and forcing a punt.

With the drive reaching the Columbus 40, and the game reaching the final quarter, Garrett Esch stepped in front of a Fremont pass and returned the interception all the way down to the Tiger 28-yard line.

Fleeman used the short field to hit Avery McMeeking for a 16-yard touchdown pass, which gave his team a 28-14 lead.

The Tigers answered with a drive that reached the Discoverer 20, but a stop at the line of scrimmage ended the possession on downs.

Columbus ate up as much time as possible, punted the ball away and then forced an incomplete pass on fourth-and-15 from deep in Fremont territory.

The Discoverers burned more time on three runs, missed a field goal then watched as the clock hit zeros after another Tiger incomplete pass. 

"The biggest thing for us is that we take every game, game-by-game," Williams said. "I know that's cliche, but the group really believes in that. We can't get ahead of ourselves. We have to go get better everyday in practice. I think we are gaining confidence, and I think our offense is learning how to move the football.

"Our coaching staff is growing with the team, and learning how to make the right calls for this group of kids on both sides of the football. It's a good time to start growing up, because we have a four-game stretch that's absolutely brutal. We're going to have to continue to plug away and just get better."  

Lakeview 27, Wayne 6

Quarterback Jaden Johnson scored two short touchdowns, Lucas Thatcher dashed for two long ones and the defense did the rest in a 27-6 Lakeview football win Friday over Wayne.

The victory makes the No. 5 Vikings 4-0 on the season as district play approaches next week with a road game at No. 3 Wahoo Neumann.

Lakeview scored the first touchdown of the game on Thatcher’s first carry of the game, found itself in a tie game one play into the second quarter, responded immediately with a long drive to regain the lead then stymied Wayne the rest of the way while capitalizing on a turnover, good field position and another big play from Thatcher.

The Vikings celebrated five new entries into its Athletic Hall of Fame at halftime then celebrated its first 4-0 start in more than 15 years.

Thatcher went 52 yards around the left side on the second play of the second Lakeview possession of the game for a 6-0 lead less than four minutes in. The extra point was missed.

After trading punts, Wayne took over at its own 29 with five minutes remaining in the first quarter and drove 20 plays capped with a 27-yard touchdown run by Juan Vergara. The Viking D denied a two-point conversion then shut out the Wayne offense for the final 35 minutes.

After Vergara’s 27-yard run, the defense only allowed three plays of 10 yards or more the rest of the way.

After the halftime festivities, Thatcher intercepted a pass on Wayne's second possession of the third quarter setting up his offense at the Blue Devil 39.

Jaden Johnson turned the pick into points eight plays later on a 2-yard dive.

Thatcher than put the game out of reach with a 61-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.

"That is one dude who can just stick his foot in the ground and get north and south," assistant coach Dan Krueger said in postgame comments on KLIR radio. "He can make guys miss, he's so explosive, he's so low to the ground and he has great balance."

Nate Tenopir and Peter Huguenin are sports editor and reporter for The Columbus Telegram, respectively. You can reach them via email at sports@columbustelegram.com.

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