As historic season closes, Explorers make strong postseason push
Coming off a disappointing loss against the Coral Gables Cavaliers last year, the Columbus football team had high hopes coming into 2014. With a senior laden roster and a unit seeking redemption, the Explorers expected nothing except to win.
It all started with the team that hoisted the trophy last year as the Explorers travelled to South Dade to take on the Buccaneers. The Explorers’ offense spearheaded was by senior wide receiver Austin Maloney and quarterback Tucker Bierne. The team did something it struggled with all of last year–putting points on the board. The offense exploded as they scored 45 points in their win over the defending champions.
Then came redemption time for the Explorers as they faced off against district foe Coral Gables. It was the most anticipated game of the year and it lived up to all of the hype as the Explorers came out on top 14-13 thanks to an eighty-yard game-winning touchdown run by junior, Ivan Smith.
This season also marked some firsts for the program as the team stepped out of the friendly confines of Westchester and traveled over 1000 miles to Kentucky, and got a taste of Midwestern football. They faced the second most successful high school football team in the nation, a school that has won a total of 22 state championships, a team that hadn’t loss a home game in over a decade. But Columbus beat them in another close game beating the Highland Blue Birds 38-34.
It was time for the team to reclaim a district that they called theirs for a very long time. The Explorers won their next 3 districts games, beating all of them by at least 32 points. The dominance displayed by the team caught the eyes that were doubting them. The Miami Herald ranked Columbus outside the top 10 before the start of the season, and by years end, that’ exactly where the team ended up.
Now comes playoff time; the time of the year where a football team shows its true colors. For a team that has been playing with a chip on its shoulder all year long, it is now when they will have to achieve what they were thinking about on all those hot summer day practices. This team has been proving doubters wrong all year long…so why stop now?