Varsity football team enjoys perfect start to season
The Columbus Explorers’ football team is riding high after starting the year with a big win over the defending state champion, South Dade, and beating rival school, Belen Jesuit, by three touchdowns.
Although the team has gotten off to a fantastic start, they are trying to stay humble going into their next game against the reigning district champions, Coral Gables, who beat the Explor-ers in the playoffs last year. Just ask senior team captain Andres Fernandez, “It’s not about Coral Gables, It’s about Christopher Columbus High School. Every week is another step to get back on top of the district,” said Fernandez.
Columbus doesn’t need any extra motivation going into Friday’s game as last season ended very bitterly for many current players. The Coral Gables Cavaliers eliminated Columbus last season, overcoming a large deficit. The Explorers were up as much as 21-0 at one point but gave away the lead and eventually lost on a game winning field goal.
But this squad looks like a different team than last year’s; in it’s first game against the South Dade Buccaneers, the offense dropped 45 points on a defense that they were only able put up 10 points against last season. The offense was not as good against Belen as it was against South Dade, but it was sufficient enough to beat the Wolverines by 20 points.
The increase in offensive production is due to the emergence of many key players. Wide receiver and FIU commit Austin Maloney has had the most impressive season, catching seven passes for 136 yards and a touchdown in the first game against South Dade. Against Belen, Maloney put on a display on the field he will be playing division one college football on next sea-son; he caught a 35 yard touchdown pass from Andres Fernandez and also took a punt return to the house for a touchdown.
Against the Buccaneers, the Explorers totaled 402 yards, 212 of which came from running the football. Junior running back Ivan Smith continues to improve as a player running for 100 yards on only four carries. Smith had one carry that went for 45 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter. He put the game away in the fourth with a 47 yard carry that set up fellow running back E.J. Donaldson for an eight yard touchdown run. The junior tailback even caught a nine yard touchdown pass against Belen, showing he’s capable of more than running the football.
The third year senior quarterback Tucker Beirne had a solid start to the season as he completed 15 of his 26 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns. Beirne even had a rushing touchdown against South Dade. “He’s trimmed down and changed his body, and added an ele-ment to his game people don’t expect.”, Columbus head coach Chris Merrit told the Miami Her-ald. Beirne also had an efficient game against Belen as he completed 16 of his 22 passes for 140 yards and a touchdown.
Expect for the Explorers to come out on Friday night with a bit of a chip on their shoul-ders. Andres Fernandez of the Miami Herald has already predicted the outcome of Friday’s game: the Explorers will lose by a final score of 24-23. It seems like the Explorers will have to hit the field and to prove the doubters wrong.