NEA defense stands tall in win over Columbia

Published 4:17 pm Sunday, September 10, 2023

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LASKER – Northeast Academy’s defense came up with two huge stops in the fourth quarter to preserve a 16-12 win over Columbia High School in the Eagles home opener here Friday night.

Northeast Academy’s Marshall Medford (#45) cuts behind the block of teammate Payton Brinkley (#47) en route to a big gainer in Friday’s 16-12 win over Columbia High School. Medford led the Eagles with 147 rushing yards on 18 carries. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Northeast had the ball and a 16-12 lead in the early stages of the fourth quarter, but lost a fumble at their own 38 yardline. However, NEA sophomore safety Judson Smith came up with a huge play with an interception with 9:28 left in the game.

The Eagles then went on a time-consuming drive that took nearly five minutes off the clock. That drive ended on loss of downs at midfield, but the Northeast defense was again up to the challenge, getting the ball back with 3:09 remaining when another sophomore, linebacker Marshall Medford, broke up a Columbia pass on fourth down.

Northeast ran out the clock to preserve the victory.

After a scoreless first half, Columbia drew first blood when the Wildcats scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass from Mason Mauffray to Levi Spruill. The conversion run failed, leaving Columbia with a 6-0 lead at the 9:48 mark of the third quarter.

Northeast answered less than two and one-half minutes later when Medford capped a drive with his 18-yard run to paydirt. Nathan Trevino added the two-point conversion on a pass from Dalton Vann, staking the Eagles to an 8-6 lead.

NEA defenders Nathan Trevino (left) and Judson Smith (right) combine to tackle Columbia quarterback Mason Mauffray in Friday’s home win. Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

Columbia answered quickly, scoring just 16 seconds later when Mauffray tossed a 50-yard touchdown pass to Eli Nicholson. However, the Eagles stuffed the two-point conversion run, leaving Columbia with a 12-8 lead.

Northeast responded with a four-plus minute drive that ended with Dalton Vann scoring what proved to be the game-winning touchdown on a three-yard touchdown run. Dawson Vann ran in the conversion for a 16-12 lead with 3:43 left in the third period.

Medford led the Northeast ground game, rushing for 147 yards on 18 carries. Dawson Vann added 98 yards on 19 attempts while Dalton Vann finished with 35 yards on 14 carries.

Trevino and Dawson Vann led the Eagles defensively with five tackles each. William Coggins and Dalton Vann added four tackles each.

The Eagles (2-1) will host Community Christian this Friday (Sept. 15). Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.