Saturday night, however, the legs of junior quarterback Jay Banyasz made all the difference.
Banyasz rushed 34 times for 271 yards and found the end zone four times as the Raiders overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Archbold 39-34 in a first-round Division V playoff game at Columbia High School.
“I wanted this game more than anything,” Banyasz said. “This was something I have been dreaming about since I was a little kid, and getting a home playoff game … we all just really wanted it.”
The Raiders offensive line and downfield blocking from their wide receivers enabled Banyasz to run wild all night. He scored three times on quarterback sneaks and once on a quarterback draw up the middle.
Near the goal line he ran inside, but in the open field, away from the Archbold end zone, it was his ability to find success outside the tackles that enabled him to pile up the yards. Running wide he had runs of 48, 45, 25, 18, 17, 14 and 11 yards.
“Our downfield blocking was fantastic,” Raiders coach Jason Ward said. “The receivers were technically sound tonight. They kept their hands inside and made it difficult because you know how referees are. …
On the edge they’re looking for holding and its right there in front of them. We did a good job of keeping our hands inside, bumping guys off and being disciplined.”
Early in the game it looked like Archbold (8-3) was going to be the team that ran to victory. Behind junior quarterback Evan Wyse, who finished the game with 159 yards on 24 carries, the first three Blue Streaks drives ended with touchdowns.
The Raiders were also hurting themselves with pre-snap penalties, twice keeping Archbold drives alive with encroachment penalties that resulted in first downs in the first two quarters. Columbia kept it close, however, and a Michael Boey 20-yard touchdown reception late in the second quarter pulled the Raiders to within 21-19.
In the second half, however, Columbia’s offense really got cooking.
The Raiders scored on two straight possessions, taking their first lead of the game, 26-21, when Banyasz capped a four-play, 56-yard drive with a 1-yard sneak.
Then, after the Raiders stopped the Blue Streaks on fourth-and-4 at the Columbia 41, Banyasz again ended a Raiders scoring drive that covered 60 yards in seven plays with a 2-yard burst up the middle.
Banyasz carried the ball four times for 18 yards on the drive, but the key play was a 31-yard catch by freshman Jesse Lambert that set the Raiders up at the Blue Streaks 9-yard line.
“Their quarterback is a really special player and he hurt us running it and throwing it,” Archbold coach Bryan Miller said. “They hurt us on the edge all night and we just didn’t have an answer for it.”
Archbold was not done. On the next play from scrimmage, Blue Streaks’ running back Tyson Dietrich caught a pass over the middle, ran over a Columbia defender and raced 68 yards to the end zone to pull his team within a touchdown at 33-27 late in the third quarter.
Columbia responded with a seven-play, 65-yard drive that took up 2:40 and ended, again, with a Banyasz 1-yard touchdown run to give the Raiders some breathing room at 39-27.
Dietrich scored the game’s final touchdown on a 2-yard run with 3:50 remaining, but Archbold had just one timeout left and Columbia, with its offensive line leading the way, was able to keep the ball on the ground and kill the rest of the clock.
“This has been a couple of weeks in a row now when they took over the game,” Ward said of his big guys up front. “This is the offensive line we thought we were getting when we came into the season, and they have delivered now for four straight weeks. If we can keep getting performances like that from these guys it’ll be huge.”
Banyasz was happy with the play of his offensive line all night.
“There were so many times when it was wide open, when I saw nothing but daylight,” he said. “They blocked their tails off tonight. They are the greatest offensive line in school history. … They would do anything for me and I’d do anything for them.”
Contact Mike Perry at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
Columbia 39, Archbold 34
Archbold 14 7 6 7 — 34
Columbia 6 13 14 6 — 3 9
A — Evan Wyse 25 run (Lincoln Parsley kick)
C — Jesse Lambert 4 pass from Jay Banyasz (kick failed)
A — Wyse 21 run (Parsley kick)
C — Banyasz 3 run (Matt Zelinsky kick)
A — Wise 11 run (Parsley kick)
C — Michael Boey 20 pass from Banyasz (pass failed)
C — Banyasz 1 run (Zelinsky kick)
C — Banyasz 2 run (Zelinsky kick)
A — Tyson Dietrich 68 pass from Wyse (kick failed)
C — Banyasz 1 run (run failed)
A — Dietrich 2 run (Parsley kick)
First downs 17 22
— by rushing 12 13
— by passing 3 3
— by penalty 2 2
Yards rushing 227 299
Yards passing 156 168
Total offense 373 467
Passes att./comp. 16/8 15/11
Intercepted by 0 0
Fumbles/lost 1/0 3/0
Penalties/yards 5/50 8/45
RUSHING — (A) Evan Wyse 24-159, Tyson Dietrich 6-51, Levi Wyse 2-17. (C) Jay Banyasz 34-271, Jacob Kleinhenz 4-17, Jesse Lambert 2-13, Tristen Rindfleich 2-2.
PASSING — (A) Evan Wyse 8-16-156-1-0. (B) Jay Banyasz 11-15-168-1-0.
RECEIVING — (A) Tyson Dietrich 4-85, Lincoln Parsley 3-18, Levi Wyse 2-53. (C) Austin Walaszewski 4-82, Jesse Lambert 3-43, Michael Boey 1-20, Ben Verbus 1-10, Tyler Edmisten 1-9, Tristen Rindfleich 1-2.