COLUMBIANA-This one hurt.
Suffering game-ending injuries to quarterback Nate Huk and all-around star Britton Steiginga, Columbiana found a way to get past Southern 26-14 in a key Inter-Tri County League lower tier game on Friday at Firestone Park.
Columbiana (5-1, 3-0 in the ITCL lower tier) got 126 yards rushing, three touchdowns, an interception and fumble recovery from Steiginga before his exit with 8:20 left in the game.
Southern’s Mike McKenzie runs past a Columbiana defender. (Photo by Patti Schaeffer)
Columbiana coach Bob Spaite said it was either a sprain or break on his left ankle.
"He's such a tough guy and has never been hurt before," Spaite said. "I just talked to the doctor and at least initially it doesn't look like a break. I think as
dramatic as it happened it just scared him. We won't know until we get him to the ortho."
Huk had recently just returned from a knee injury suffered earlier in the year and hurt the same knee following a 27-yard touchdown run with 7:43 left in the second quarter. Spaite said it appeared likely that it was incurred during a post-touchdown celebration. He did not return after that play.
"We said at the beginning of the year there were three guys we couldn't lose," Spaite said. "That's Huk, Steiginga and Hacker. They're all really banged up right now."
Hacker, who had a one-handed interception in the first quarter, had suffered an injury last week against Sebring after he stepped wrong in a "gopher hole" according to Spaite.
His touches were limited against the Indians as the Clippers used a platoon system to try to replace him on offense.
Southern (4-2, 2-1) was bit by a serious injury of its own when immediately following Steiginga's departure, junior lineman Howie Bott hurt a knee and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher. He was transported to the hospital by ambulance.
"He twisted his knee pretty good," Southern coach Mike Skrinjar said. "He's one of the toughest kids on the team and he tried to get up and the knee was buckling. It was limp. That was tough to see."
The Indians made a game of it and trailed 20-14 at the half after Jared Shilot made a stunning catch on his back in the end zone with 12 seconds left. Shilot fought off Garrett Patrick, who was called for pass interference, to pull in the score.
Plagued by three interceptions and two fumbles, the Indians did not use that momentum to their advantage. An interception by Conner Richardson with about nine minutes left in the third quarter put a damper on things the rest of the night. Steiginga scored his final touchdown off that pick to make it 26-14.
"That's football," Skrinjar said. "Someboy has to win and somebody has to lose. Both teams played extremely well. A couple things put us in a bind here and there. We were playing catch up. It was a battle, but we showed we had backbone."
Luke Griffith, coming off a stellar performance against McDonald, was 22 of 40 for 229 yards to lead the Indians.