CULLMAN, Ala. – Columbia traveled to Oliver Woodard Stadium Thursday night for a regional showdown with the Bearcats originally scheduled for Oct. 9 and Cullman wrapped up the regular season with a 40-6 win over the Eagles. The victory gives Cullman an 8-2 record in the regular season with the state playoffs coming up next week.
Columbia was forced to turn the ball over on downs on its opening possession and the Bearcats took advantage almost immediately. Max Dueland took a quarterback keeper for 25 yards down to the 1-yard line and on the next play, Jamar Kay took the handoff around right end and scored to give the black and gold an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles opted to punt on fourth down at the end of their next possession but a high snap sailed over the punter’s head and into the end zone for a safety, making it a 9-0 game midway through the opening quarter. The ‘Cats got another quick stop to take over possession once again and just two plays later, Jake Dueland ran one in from 10 yards out to extend the lead to 16-0 with just over five minutes to play in the first.
Cullman got the ball back on offense late in the first quarter and with just 10 seconds remaining in the period, Noah Kee burst through the line and outran the defense for a 40-yard touchdown to put the Bearcats on top 23-0 going into the second quarter. Cullman’s next score came early in the second quarter when Jaden Kay took a direct snap and ran it off left tackle for a 7-yard touchdown. The extra point made it 30-0 ‘Cats with just over eight minutes to play in the first half.
The Eagles put together a time-consuming drive on their next possession, but they couldn’t get on the scoreboard and Cullman went into the locker room at halftime with a 30-0 advantage.
Both teams agreed to a running clock in the second half and the Bearcats received the kick to start the third quarter. After a few plays, Jamar Kay found the end zone for the second time, this time from 30 yards out to stretch the lead to 37-0 midway through the third. Another turnover on downs from Columbia late in the third quarter gave the ball back to Cullman and the ‘Cats capped off the ensuing possession with a 32-yard field off the foot of Nate Zillis that made it 40-0.
The Eagles did find the end zone once during the game when they connected on a 66-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field that cut the deficit to 40-6 with just over seven minutes to play but that was all the offense Columbia was able to muster and Cullman held on to win it 40-6.
Four different runners found the end zone for the Bearcats. Jamar Kay finished with scoring runs of 1 yard and 30 yards, Jake Dueland scored from 10 yards out, Kee had the longest run of the night with a 40-yard score and Jaden Kay punched one in from 7 yards out. Max Dueland led the ‘Cats with 43 yards on the ground.
Cullman finishes the regular season 8-2 with the win and will host Shades Valley at Oliver Woodard Stadium in the opening round of the 6A State Playoffs next Friday.
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