Current Cullman Football Coach Matt Plunkett, left, with his predecessor, longtime Bearcat Coach Mark Britton, right, pose for a photo at Oliver Woodard Stadium Friday night. A retirement reception for Britton was held in the end zone before Friday night’s homecoming game. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)
CULLMAN – Cullman (Class 6A, Region 7) came out with a bit of trickery with an onside kick to start its game Friday night, and Peyton Colbert was ready for recovery, setting the tone for a fast-paced night as the Bearcats took down Columbia (Class 6A, Region 7), 48-8.
While Cullman (2-2) looked impressive on its first drive, a missed field goal opened the door for Columbia. However, the Bearcats were not going to be denied on homecoming. Bearcat Carter Lindsey recovered a botched punt attempt, giving Cullman excellent field position at Columbia’s 1-yard line. Cullman’s Jayden Sullins broke the plane to give the Bearcats a 7-0 lead.
A few series later Cullman’s defense found itself smothering Columbia, forcing a fumble and recovery inside the 15-yard line. Ezra Burks found his way into the end zone to put Cullman up 14-0.
Cullman’s defense continued the streak when Jimnie Chau Le picked off a bullet pass to give the Bearcats good field position back at Columbia’s 33-yard line.
Sullins, on the first play from scrimmage, cut back through the defense to break free and run untouched for a 33-yard touchdown to put Cullman ahead 21-0.
Cullman’s Drew Ball recovered a fumble on Columbia’s 31-yard line, giving Cullman another shot at the end zone before the end of the half. Sullins broke free from Cullman’s 45-yard line, following an initial first-down penalty, and took the ball back to Columbia’s 27-yard line for a quick 18-yard pickup.
Burks collected some yardage on the first down to set the Bearcats up in scoring position inside the 10-yard line. He powered it through the center for a short gain, then Max Dueland, on a quarterback keeper, took the ball home from 3-yards out to push Cullman’s lead to 28-0.
Cullman’s defense came back out and did what it does best…forcing quick sets from opponents… not allowing Columbia’s defense to rest.
Dueland hit Sullins for a huge first-down, one-handed catch to give the Bearcats a first down with close to a minute left in the first half. The Sullins connection gained another first down for the Bearcats as the clock ticked under a minute. However, a last-second field goal attempt skirted wide right, sending the Bearcats into the half leading 28-8.
Cullman continued to pour it on defensively and offensively in the closing quarters, with many of the second and third string backups making it in early in the second half.
Final score: Cullman 48, Columbia 8
The Bearcats will travel to Albertville next week.
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