Boys Varsity Football
COLUMBUS, Ind. – Junior Luke Hammons accounted for three touchdowns and senior Blake Huffman ran for three more on Friday evening (Oct. 9), propelling the Columbus North football team to a 42-14 victory over Bloomington North at Max Andress Field.
The defense also came up with a goal-line stand, four sacks and a key interception as the Bull Dogs improved to 5-2 overall and clinched an outright Conference Indiana championship at 4-0. The visiting Cougars dropped to 3-4 overall and 2-2 in the league, giving BN, Bloomington South and Southport all two league losses with one week remaining in league play.
Hammons ran for 139 yards and a touchdown while also completing 17-of-22 passes for 187 yards and two scores. Huffman, meanwhile, rushed for 98 yards, including TDs that covered 15 yards, 10 yards and 4 yards.
While the final score may appear lopsided, the game was close for 2½ quarters until the hosts snapped a tie at 14 with four consecutive touchdowns over the final quarter and a half.
Trailing 14-7 at intermission, the visiting Cougars drew even early in the third quarter when sophomore Cody Mikulich found a crease on the left side and burst 54 yards along the sideline for a tying score.
The Bull Dogs, however, responded with a seven-play, 84-yard drive that Huffman capped with a 10-yard touchdown for a lead the hosts never relinquished. Huffman had a 16-yard run early in the drive, Hammons added runs of 16 yards and 12 yards, and Hammons connected with sophomore Tyler Blythe for a 14-yard gain to set up the go-ahead score.
After forcing Bloomington North to punt on its ensuing possession, Columbus North doubled its advantage when Hammons connected with senior Hayden McDaniel on a 22-yard touchdown. The score completed a four-play, 56-yard drive that include a Hammons' 21-yard run and an 11-yard pass from Hammons to senior Eshaan Patel.
A sack by junior Dawson Adams and a third-down incompletion by BN junior Reece Lozano forced another Cougars’ punt, and the Bull Dogs struck again. Hammons started a six-play, 64-yard drive with a 30-yard run, then completed it with a 3-yard touchdown for 35-14 command with 10:57 to go in the game.
Senior Avrin Holt intercepted Lozano on the second play of BN’s next possession, and the hosts then ended any doubt about the outcome – Huffman darting 4 yards around left end to cap an eight-play, 59-yard march. Key plays included a Hammons’ 17-yard pass to junior Keegan Castetter, a Hammons’ 14-yard run and a Hammons’ 26-yard run before Huffman’s third touchdown of the game.
Columbus North opened the game with Huffman scoring on a 15-yard run where he started up the middle, spun to his left and then burst into the end zone with 9:28 left in the first quarter. Bloomington North countered on its first possession with Lozano taking an option around left end and zipping 41 yards for a score.
The Bull Dogs moved the ball on the next possession, but Cougars senior Race Stewart sacked Hammons for a 12-yard loss, stripped the ball and recovered it to give the visitors the ball on the CN 45. But a sack by Bull Dogs senior Bryan Lopez forced a punt.
Bloomington North got the ball back on its own 47 when the Bull Dogs couldn’t move and appeared to be in position go ahead when Lozano ran 41 yards to the Columbus North 9. But CN freshman Andrew Molnar tackled Mikulich for a 2-yard loss and Adams sacked Lozano for a 9-yard loss. Facing third-and-goal from the 20, Lozano hit senior Aaron Steinfeldt for an 18-yard gain. Going for it on fourth and goal from the 2, senior Luke Bless and Holt combined to stop Lozano for a 1-yard loss.
Twelve plays later, the Bull Dogs had marched 97 yards the other direction for a go-ahead score, Hammons passing to Blythe for a 7-yard touchdown. A Hammons-to-Castetter pass for 17 yards plus a 16-yard run by junior Dyllan Redmon helped set up the TD that made it 14-7 at the break and set the stage for the Bull Dogs’ strong second half.
Columbus North captured its second CI championship in three seasons and its third since the league began football in the fall of 1998. The Bull Dogs shared the title with Lawrence Central in 2004 and claimed an outright crown in 2018. Columbus High/Columbus North also won or shared South Central Conference trophies in 1936, 1942, 1945, 1948, 1952, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1975 and 1988.
The Bull Dogs return to action at 7:30 p.m. next Friday (Oct. 16) when they visit Terre Haute South (2-6, 1-3) to try to cap an undefeated league season. Bloomington North hosts Southport (2-3, 2-2) at 7 p.m. next Friday in its regular-season finale.
At Columbus North (Max Andress Field)
Bloomington North ….. 7 0 7 0 – 14
Columbus North ………. 7 7 14 14 – 42
CN – Blake Huffman 15 run (Carter Ward kick), 9:28 1Q
BN – Reece Lozano 41 run (Kyle Trilling kick), 6:58 1Q
CN – Tyler Blythe 7 pass from Luke Hammons (Carter Ward kick), 3:29 2Q
BN – Cody Mikulich 54 run (Kyle Trilling kick), 9:53 3Q
CN – Blake Huffman 10 run (Carter Ward kick), 6:43 3Q
CN – Hayden McDaniel 22 pass from Luke Hammons (Carter Ward kick), 3:01 3Q
CN – Luke Hammons 3 run (Carter Ward kick), 10:57 4Q
CN – Blake Huffman 4 run (Carter Ward kick), 6:03 4Q
TEAM STATISTICS CN Blm. N.
First Downs ………………… 26 12
Rushes-Yards ……………… 47-275 31-221
Passing Yards ……………… 187 74
Comp-Att-Int ………………. 17-22-0 6-14-1
Total Yards ………………….. 462 295
Fumbles-Lost ………………. 1-1 1-0
Punts-Avg ……………….…… 2-27.5 5-19.4
Penalties-Yards ……….…… 4-31 7-50
Time of Possession ……… 29:27 18:33
RUSHING – Columbus North: Luke Hammons 18-139, Blake Huffman 17-98, Ian Calvert 5-27, Dyllan Redmon 4-26, team 3-(-15). Bloomington North: Cody Mikulich 13-115, Reece Lozano 16-113, Dylan Hayes 1-(-2), team 1-(-5).
PASSING – Columbus North: Luke Hammons, 17-22-0, 187 yards. Bloomington North: Reece Lozano, 5-12-1, 68 yards; Jarrin Alley, 1-2-0, 6 yards.
RECEIVING – Columbus North: Keegan Castetter 8-85, Tyler Blythe 5-59, Eshaan Patel 2-20, Hayden McDaniel 1-22, Blake Huffman 1-1. Bloomington North: Aaron Steinfeldt 3-55, Aristotle Vasquez 1-9, Aidan Steinfeldt 1-6, Cody Mikulich 1-4.
MISSED FIELD GOALS – Columbus North: None. Bloomington North: None.
2020 Football Standings (through Oct. 9)
CI PF PA All PF PA
1, Columbus North 4-0 156 77 5-2 262 149
2, Bloomington South 3-2 138 128 4-3 199 192
3, Bloomington North 2-2 124 121 3-4 216 212
3, Southport 2-2 139 120 2-3 139 162
5, Terre Haute South 1-3 87 161 2-6 163 309
6, Terre Haute North 1-4 100 137 3-5 162 206
PHOTO: The Columbus North football team celebrates its Conference Indiana championship after it defeated Bloomington North 42-14 on Oct. 9, 2020.