PITTSBURG — After posting just one win last season, Columbus kicked off the 2019 campaign on a high note. The Titans held off CNC League foe Pittsburg-St. Mary’s Colgan 21-14 Friday in the season opener for both teams at Hutchinson Field.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Titans, who finished with a 1-8 record a year ago. Columbus moved to 1-0 overall heading into its Sept. 13 home opener against Coffeyville-Field Kindley. The Golden Tornado is 0-1 following a 40-14 home loss to Fort Scott.
As for Colgan, it dropped to 0-1 on the season. The Panthers will remain at home on Sept. 12 when it entertains another CNC rival, Frontenac, in a Thursday night contest at Hutchinson Field. The Raiders are 1-0 after rallying for a 20-14 victory at Richmond (Mo.) in their opener.
A year ago, the Panthers cruised to a 40-6 victory over the Titans in Columbus. This time around, Columbus was up for the challenge was the opening kick.
The teams played through a scoreless first quarter before the Titans struck first on a seven-yard touchdown run from Grayson Walden. Later, the Panthers evened things up on a 29-yard scoring strike from Gianni Piccini to Andrew Lomshek to head into the intermission tied at 7-7.
Columbus opened things up a bit after the break. Quarterback Patrick Cassidy found Clay Saporito for an 11-yard touchdown pass. Cassidy followed that with a five-yard scamper into the end zone to push the Titans’ lead to 21-7.
That’s where things stood until the fourth quarter when the Panthers cut the margin in half. Piccini tossed his second touchdown pass of the game — this time from 13 yards out to Kannon Keller — to narrow the gap to one possession. Yet, the Titans held on down the stretch to preserve the victory.
Colgan actually had a slight 256-233 advantage in total yardage for the game. Cassidy completed 10-of-16 passes for 139 yards and one touchdown for Columbus. The Titan rushing game finished with 94 yards. As for Colgan, Piccini was 9-of-15 passing for 97 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a team-high 50 yards rushing on seven carries.
(Photo courtesy of Lori Ann Spachek)