Columbus triumphs in 11th rivalry match against Belen

The Explorers were looking to continue “The Decade of Dominance”.

Christopher Columbus High School faced the Belen Jesuit Wolverines on Friday, September 25, for the 11th annual meeting of the classic rivalry matchup. Coming into the game, Columbus had dominated the prior matchups having a perfect a 10-0 record against Belen. Columbus was highly favored against an inferior Wolverine squad, totaling a 4-0 record on the season thus far, while Belen sat at 3-2.

Belen started things off in the first quarter, deciding to receive the opening kickoff and begin the game with the ball. As Belen drove down to their own 40 yard line with 7:30 remaining in the first quarter, the worst thing imaginable happened– for Columbus. Junior cornerback, Marlin Brooks, dove to make the tackle down the sideline headfirst. In doing so, injured himself and had to be taken off the field and rushed to the hospital to have neck surgery. Brooks is expected to miss the rest of the season for the Explorers.

After Brooks’ injury, Columbus was fueled and ready to go forcing a fourth down and a punt. Columbus quarterback, Alejandro Ros, took the field for his first matchup starting against the rival school. Ros didn’t look shaken by the estimated 10,000 fans in attendance, as Columbus drove down the field, where Ros connected with wide receiver, Daniel Courtney, for an acrobatic touchdown and the first score of the game.

Columbus would quickly get the ball back, and stomp on the Wolverine defense once again. This time; however, it was on the ground. Columbus running back, Chris Henderson, found a hole and used his speed to score an 81-yard touchdown run to take the lead 14-0 early in the second quarter.

After another an interception by Nick John for the Explorers, the Columbus offense threw some trickery the Wolverine’s way running a fake WR run to Orlando Hidalgo. Instead of running, Hidalgo looked deep for his wideout, Jerron Rollins. Hidalgo and Rollins connected for a deep pass entering the red zone for the third time. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the same result as the first two trips. Kicker, Corey Pastore, missed a 29 yard field goal attempt wide right. The game entered halftime, with Columbus winning over Belen, 14-0.

Columbus received the ball to begin the half and quickly gave it right back to Belen. After coming off a dismal first half performance totaling only 58 yards of total offense, the Wolverine offense was looking to come out and gain momentum. The Columbus defense; however, didn’t give in once. After forcing yet another punt, Columbus drove down the field once more to punch it in for 6 to junior running back, Yael Gomez. Columbus took a commanding 21-0 lead, and never let it go.

Belen was able to end the possible shutout and score with 17 seconds left in the game to make it, 21-7. After a failed onside kick, Columbus entered victory formation and made it 11 straight.

The event, which is always one to look forward to every year, didn’t dissapoint as the fans and students from each team had a great time.

RB Henderson finished with a game-high 90 yards on five carries and a touchdown, WR Rollins caught three passes for 57 yards, and QB Ros threw for 118 yards and one touchdown for Columbus. The stat of the day goes to Belen, for the wrong reasons, as they only were able to muster 95 yards of total offense and earned as many first downs as they did punt the ball— seven.

Watch the whole game right here, with commentary from CCNN Sports Analysts David Perez and Victor Prieto.

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