LAKE BUENA VISTA
Big responses and big plays were the difference for Palm Bay on Thursday night at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in a 25-20 win over Columbine, Colo.
It was the season opener for both teams. The rest of Brevard County’s high school football teams open their regular seasons on Friday.
“We got our nose bloodied a little bit,” Pirates coach Dan Burke said. “That was definitely a physical football team.”
And the Rebels made no secret of their plans, lining up nearly the entire game with no split receivers and running an attack heavy on ball fakes and misdirection.
Still, it was the 89 yards of B.J. Daniels, including a pair of 5-yard touchdown runs, that sparked the Palm Bay (1-0) attack. Also important was the quick response of the Palm Bay offense each time Columbine drew within striking distance.
The first was a 35-yard run by Daniels midway through the second period. Columbine had cut it to a point, 7-6, on a Ted Mullin 2-yard run before Daniels put his team quickly back near the red zone.
He scored the second of his 5-yard runs minutes later for a 15-6 lead with help from a Dez Arthur 2-point run.
After the Rebels cut the Palm Bay lead to 15-13 on the opening drive of the second half, the Pirates struck quickly again. Stuart Brown found Dez Arthur for a 43-yard pass play. That led to a 28-yard Justin Bellows field goal.
Perhaps the biggest moments of the game came with the Pirates defense standing in the end zone in the fourth quarter. Columbine ran three plays from inside the 5 but failed to score. On third-and-goal from the 1, Mateo Rodriguez sprinted left and took a pitch for what looked like an easy run to the pylon.
Jalen Shelton closed on him and pushed Rodriguez out at the 2.
“We were expecting them to either option and go inside or pitch,” Shelton said. “I saw the running back come out, so I knew it was a screen or a pitch. I just stayed home and came off a block.”
Brown delived the back breaker minutes later, connecting with Tyrese Lyons uncovered at about the 5. Lyons had to twist his body but drew in the ball and fell into the end zone.
Columbine was 14-1 last season, advancing to the state semifinals in Colorado’s highest classification, 5A.
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow facebook.com/FLtoday.brianmccallum and @Brian_McCallum on Twitter.
Top performers: Columbine – Ted Mullins 7 carries for 62 yards, 2 catches for 45 yards, scored twice. Palm Bay – B.J. Daniels rushed 16 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Key play: Palm Bay held the Rebels three times inside the 3-yard line, leading 18-13 in the fourth. Jalen Shelton made a solo tackle for a 1-yard loss on third-and-1, and several defenders covered Columbine quarterback Mike Griebel for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-2.
Next week: Columbine hosts Fort Collins Rocky Mountain. The Pirates host Bayside.
Palm Bay 25, Columbine 20
Columbine, Colorado (0-1)067720Palm Bay (1-0)783725
PB: B.J. Daniels 5 run (Justin Bellows kick), 3:52
C: Ted Mulliin 2 run (kick failed), 6:13
PB: B.J. Daniels 5 run (Dez Arthur run), 1:34
C: Tim Mullin 1 run (Logan Dearment kick), 7:34
PB: Justin Bellows 28 FG, 3:11
PB: Tyrese Lyons 41 pass from Stuart Brown (Justin Bellows kick), 2:59
C: Ted Mullin 17 pass from Mike Griebel (Logan Dearment kick), 1:10
Rushing: C – Griebel 8-34, Ted Mullin 7-62, Tim Mullin 10-30, Conner Snow 3-19, Mateo Rodriguez 4-12, Russell Cruz 1-17; PB – Daniels 16-89, Arthur 6-50, Ken McKay 2-3, Brown 2-8.
Passing: C – Griebel 6-11-0 67; PB – Brown 7-14-0 134.
Receiving: C – Rodriguez 3-37, Ted Mullin 2-45, Tim Mullen 1-9; PB – Arthur 5-84, Lyons 1-41, McKay 1-8.
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