Columbus North coach Tim Bless probably didn’t want to celebrate his 100th victory coaching the Bull Dogs in quite this fashion.
Certainly proud of his football team’s 42-6 win Friday against visiting Bloomington North in the Conference Indiana opener for both teams, the crushing victory came against his brother Scott Bless’ squad.
Tim Bless likely wanted to keep the game tidy and crisp, but a lightning storm and its hour-long delay prolonged the Cougars’ agony. That agony was made worse by Bull Dogs tailback Mitchell Burton, who rushed for 249 yards and three touchdowns.
The “Bless Bowl” has been highly contentious the past five years, but Columbus North was a prohibitive favorite this year and indeed looked like one. Tim Bless raised his record to 100-74 at Columbus North and he leads the series against his brother’s team 8-4.
The Bull Dogs’ victory snapped a two-game Bloomington North winning streak in the series.
It took lightning to slow down Columbus North’s offense.
The host Bull Dogs were cruising to their win against Bloomington North when officials had to stop play in the third quarter due to an incoming storm.
At that point, Columbus North already had opened a 35-0 lead and it was just a matter of allowing the time to tick off.
When the two teams returned after a break that lasted just under an hour, officials took every opportunity to keep the clock moving.
The Bull Dogs, 2-1 overall, 1-0 Conference Indiana, used their first offensive opportunity to run Burton and take control. Burton took a hand-off from quarterback Triston Perry on the first play from scrimmage, hesitated for a moment, then exploded up the middle for a 60-yard touchdown burst.
Columbus North’s offensive line carved such a huge hole that Burton never was touched on his long scoring run.
North’s next possession took a little more work, but the result was the same after a 10-play, 66-yard drive. Perry completed three passes on the drive, including a nine-yard scoring toss to wide receiver Alex Algee.
The Columbus North defense continued to dominate as well, and on the next series middle linebacker Brice McDaniel snapped up a tipped pass for an interception.
It took the Bull Dogs five plays to capitalize as they covered 49 yards for another touchdown and a 21-0 lead still in the opening quarter. Perry swept to his left for an 18-yard touchdown run to cap the drive.
Columbus North marched 58 yards in 11 plays in the second quarter to score their final points of the first half. Algee made a beautiful, juggling catch in the end zone for an 11-yard scoring play. It was 28-0 at intermission.
With the storm quickly approaching as the third quarter began, Columbus North put the game away. Burton covered the final 48 yards of the drive in three carries. The touchdown burst came from five yards out.
It was an impressive performance for a Bull Dogs squad which was coming off a heartbreaking 28-21 loss to rival Columbus East a week earlier. Tim Bless’ squad didn’t show any ill effects, though, from the tough, physical contest against East.
Bloomington North fell to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in conference play.