Game of the week preview: Shaw at Columbus
It was late last fall at Harris County high school where two mini-games were played between Shaw, Columbus and LaGrange. The winners of each game advanced to the 5A playoffs. The Columbus Blue Devils remember it well. They played Shaw in the first mini-game of the night and came up short.
"The thing is we really didn’t complete our assignments last year," said Donnie Dawson. "We gave up a lot of first downs."
But Columbus adjusted and wound up winning the second game against LaGrange, giving them their first postseason appearance since the 90s.
"They’re so confident about their skill level of what we’re able to do offensively and defensively and they’re gonna go out and they’re gonna play the full 48 minutes that’s for sure," said Columbus head coach Phil Marino.
The Blue Devils are looking to become a new Columbus, a team that vies for the playoffs year after year. But for the seniors on this team, a win this Friday would mean a lot.
"We’ve lost to Shaw for the last two years," Dawson said. "So it would feel really good to be a senior and finally win against the Shaw Raiders."
But the Raiders don’t feel like starting a losing streak to the Blue Devils. Following last year’s win in that mini-game, the Raiders advanced to the playoffs for the first time since 2012. They say now is the time to keep climbing.
"We already set a certain standard for Shaw," sand Nick Beason. "So we’re trying to get back to that standard and maybe even reach further than that."
Because last season’s postseason run wasn’t too kind to the Raiders or any of the Columbus 5A teams as all of them fell in the first round.
"We all have a lot that we want to prove," said Shaw head coach Chuck Stamey. "We all want to try and go out there and get out of the first round and do something more."
But the past is the past and for the Shaw Raiders, it all starts over this Friday.
"If you’ve got any aspirations of going to the playoffs, you need to come here and start," Stamey said. "And the best way to start is with a region win so that’s what we’re gonna go after."
Columbus and Shaw kick off this Friday, September 16th at 7:30pm at Kinnett Stadium.