COLUMBIA CITY – It was deja two years ago for New Haven coach Jim Rowland.
September 2010, the Bulldogs, with a state ranking and fire in their bellies, came into Columbia City with a 5-0 record, only to lose in overtime.
So when Fridays NHC showdown on the same Columbia City field went into another overtime, Rowland had his concerns for his 7th-ranked team in Class 4A.
We remember two years ago, Rowland said. It was a tough loss for us. We were 5-0 at that time. Weve been talking all week long, You can put your legacy in. This was the first time since 88 or 89 (it was 89) that weve been 6-0, so this is something our senior group wanted.
And got it the Bulldogs (6-0, 4-0 NHC) did, this time, winning 28-27 in overtime.
After Columbia City (3-3, 2-2) took the lead in overtime on Sam Daileys 5-yard touchdown run, and the Eagles kicked the extra point, New Haven got its turn on offense and made the most of it.
On the second play of the Bulldogs possession, junior receiver Jordan Hogue, taking a direct snap, scored from the 6-yard line to get New Haven within a point, then added the winning two-point conversion against the Eagles, who thought they had won the game in regulation just moments earlier.
As the siren sounded to end regulation, Eagles quarterback Travis Herbst completed what appeared to be a 16-yard touchdown pass to Drew ODell.
The homecoming fireworks went off, the Columbia City fans erupted and the players rushed the field.
But just inches inside the 15-yard line was a yellow flag, called when Columbia City had an ineligible receiver downfield. The only consolation was that the game was going into overtime.
I thought we had it there at the end, Columbia City coach Randy Hudgins said. Well have to see the film to see how legitimate of a call it was. Ill defer to the officials judgment for that.
There were those from New Haven who thought that the Bulldogs had been beaten again in overtime.
I was devastated, Hogue said. I thought we lost the game.
Instead, the Bulldogs avenged their 34-28 loss to the Eagles two years ago.
Senior running back Anthony Moore scored two first-quarter touchdowns from 20 and 15 yards out, then got his third touchdown when he barely broke through the offensive line and scored from 14 yards out with 3:32 left in the third quarter.
Columbia City spoke first, though, when, on the games third play, Herbst and receiver Jared Murphy hooked up on a 53-yard pass/run. Although Moore followed with two touchdowns, the Eagles answered with a 2-yard scoring run from Dailey with 52 seconds remaining in the half.
They gave it to their best ballplayer, Hudgins said of the ball in Hogues hands. We got some guys banged up. Our guys just played their butts off. It was an outstanding effort.