October 21, 2014

Medina
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Columbia pays back Buckeye

YORK TWP. — Despite all the success John Banyasz has had in his three seasons as Columbia’s quarterback, he will always remember Oct. 3, 2008.

That was the date Buckeye handed the Raiders a 41-point loss at Edwin Steingass Field. Friday night, Columbia returned to the same stadium for a little revenge.

A freshman in that earlier meeting, Banyasz and his teammates found it in the form of a 47-14 Patriot Athletic Conference cross-division victory.

“That whole game was in the back of my mind,” the junior signal-caller said. “I didn’t want us to let up at all. We came out here as freshman and they didn’t let up on us when they knew we were a young program just getting started.

“We didn’t want to let up them. We have everyone back from that year and we just wanted to show all of our fans that we’re the real deal.”

If there was any doubt, the Raiders (7-1, 5-0) quickly erased it.

Behind the play of Banyasz, who threw for four touchdowns and ran for another, Columbia made that game from two years ago a distance memory.

It was the closure coach Jason Ward’s program needed.

“That was a rough night for us,” said Ward, whose team was sixth in the Division V, Region 18 computer rankings prior to Friday. “If you really want to define rock bottom, that was it, but here we are now. It’s special for them to come out to this spot and play well.”

Banyasz played so well his white Raiders jersey with green trim was hardly dirty.

The 6-foot, 172-pound QB was 19-for-26 passing for 260 yards, including a 69-yard bomb to teammate Ryan Severo to start the third quarter. It was Severo’s second TD reception en route to a 98-yard receiving night on five receptions, to go with two interceptions of Bucks quarterback Austin Friel.

“Our O-line, you can see my jersey, they did a great job pass blocking and run blocking,” Banyasz said. “They were just dominating the line of scrimmage all together. That is what we said one of the keys to the game would be to win it for us.”

Columbia had 461 yards total offense as Banyasz connected with seven different receivers. Severo, Anthony Jaeger and Shane Lambert all had over 60 yards receiving.

“The guy just delivers,” Ward said of his quarterback. “I’m telling you, you know when he’s out there that he’s going to deliver. I couldn’t be happier for a better young man.”

Balancing out the Raiders attack was the running of Zack Bican, who on just eight carries ran for 129 yards, including a 92-yard scamper early in the fourth quarter.

“It feels great,” Bican said of the victory. “Two years ago, they just came out and manhandled us. Coming back here and beating them now, it just feels great.

“We’ve been talking all week about how we just want to come back here and make a statement, and I think we did that tonight.”

On the other end, it was a night of many disappointments for the Bucks (2-6, 2-3), who with the loss are assured their first losing season since 2001.

From the opening whistle, Friel was harassed by Columbia’s defense, notably outside linebackers Matt Frye and Mackenzie Malone. The running game garnered 84 yards, with 31 coming from freshman Logan Barnum late in the game.

“(Columbia’s) been playing with some momentum and they carried that into tonight,” Buckeye coach Billy Burke said. “They made plays tonight and we didn’t.”

After completing just three passes in the first two quarters, Friel bounced back to finish with 197 yards on 11-for-28 passing, with 142 of those going to Carlton Watkins, who had seven catches and a 5-yard TD.

Friel, however, threw three interceptions and had a fumble.

“We expect a lot out of Austin because he’s a senior quarterback with a lot of skill,” Burke said. “He didn’t see anything tonight that he hasn’t seen this season. He just didn’t make plays.”

Kyle Gatt (9 carries, 44 yards) had the Bucks’ other score on a 3-yard dive to give the home team its only lead late in the first quarter, 7-6.

Contact Dan Brown at sports@medina-gazette.com.