Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1059349

Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 25, 2014

Comets too hot for Wildcats

By Hunter Tickel | Sep 23, 2013
Photo by: Hunter Tickel Ball carrier Mauricio Ramirez (right) finds an opening in the West Liberty defense. Ramirez finished the game with 148 yards on 22 carries for a 6.7 average yard per rush attempt. He has 576 yards on the season with a 7.2 average.

COLUMBUS JUNCTION — The Columbus football team fell behind early before falling 45-20 to West Liberty, Friday, at home.
“We played better,” said head coach Jeff Martin. “This is probably one of the better games we have played. We need to keep cleaning up stuff. West Liberty is a pretty good football team. We got to get better.”
One minute into the game the Comets had a 7-0 lead.
“We had a bad kickoff,” Martin said. “We didn’t tackle very well. They went down in four plays and scored. That is very disheartening. You can’t give up a play like that to start the game.”
Columbus punted the ball away before forcing and recovering a fumble on the Comets’ 37-yard line.
With 6:09 remaining in the first quarter, junior Ethan Leyden ran the ball into the end zone from the 2-yard line. With a two-point conversion Columbus took its first and only lead of the game.
“We responded very well,” Martin said. “This group is going to try hard and do the best they can.”
On Columbus’ next drive, Leyden threw a pick-6 as the Comets took a 14-8 lead with 2:05 left in the first quarter.
The Wildcats answered with a nine-play 69-yard drive. A roughing the passer on third down kept the drive alive.  
Sophomore Mauricio Ramirez punched the ball in from 2 yards out, to tie the score.
The Comets would score twice more prior to the break. A 70-yard drive and senior Riley Anderson hauled in a 25-yard pass with 59.5 seconds left in the opening half to make it 28-14.
Columbus had a chance to cut the deficit to one touchdown to open the third quarter but its drive stalled.
“If we can make a first down there it is a different game,” Martin said. “If we could cut it to a score then the pressure is on them.”
West Liberty led 38-14 before Columbus scored again. Senior Alex Cruz made a 31-yard touchdown reception after the defender bobbled the ball.
Junior Chase Finke led his team with eight catches for 60 yards. Ramirez led the ground attack with 148 yards on 22 attempts for a 6.7 average per carry.
“I got pounded on pretty good,” Ramirez said. “The only thing I can say good about myself is I got back up after every play.”
Leyden completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 124 yards.
“The run game (was effective),” Ramirez said. “Our pass game is all right but that is set up by our run game.”
Ramirez picked up several knocks during the game. He said his response to the hits needed to be better.
“I know there is something I can build off,” Ramirez said. “In the beginning I let the pain get to me. I was still getting up but I didn’t have the energy and momentum I should have had. In the future I’m going to shut out the pain in my mind.”
Finke led the team with seven tackles. Senior Mark Ramirez had five tackles.
“Defensively at times we were pretty good,” Martin said. “Offensively at times we were pretty good. We need to get more consistent.”

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