BEDFORD — It didn’t take long for Class 5A No. 5 Columbus East to light up the scoreboard like a pinball machine in its regular season finale against Bedford North Lawrence on Friday night.
Cam Wilson returned the opening kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown, and the Olympians scored touchdowns on their next four possessions on their way to a 62-24 win to finish the season 8-1 and a perfect 7-0 in the Hoosier Hills Conference.
“I give the glory to all the guys up front,” Wilson said. “They set it up, and I just took it up the middle. The kicker tried to stop me, but I put a couple of moves on him to get through.”
East coach Bob Gaddis said the special teams set the tone for the game.
“It got us out in front and it kind of changed (Bedford North Lawrence’s) game plan early,” Gaddis said. “We stopped them, and then we scored the next time and put them out of their plans.”
The win, however, may have come with a huge price. With 1:43 left to go in the first half, a huge scuffle broke out, and numerous flags were thrown by the officiating crew. T.C. O’Neal was ejected from the game. Per IHSAA rule, O’Neal must sit out next week’s sectional contest at New Palestine.
Jamon Hogan scored his first touchdown from 29 yards out to extend the Olympians lead 14-0. The Stars came back to finally get some points on the board when Esteban Flores kicked a 19-yard field goal to cut it 14-3.
On the ensuing East possession, it went right back to business and drove down the field. Quarterback Josh Major capped it off with a three yard run to make it 21-3.
Hogan added his second touchdown early in the second quarter. Jaedin Miller made some noise in the middle of the second quarter when he scored from 8 yards out to make it 35-3.
Bedford North Lawrence added a touchdown on the first play of the next possession. Tabin Stillions ran it 80 yards for the score down the right hand sideline.
The Olympians locked down defensively. On the next Stars possession, Cole McCarter recovered a fumble. Hogan added another touchdown following the fumble.
“I was being blocked, then all of a sudden I saw the ball on the ground in the backfield and just grabbed it,” McCarter said.
East put away the game for good by adding three more touchdowns in the third quarter. On defense, the Olympians slammed the door when Julian Greenwell and Nick Henderson each had an interception in the second half.
Now the Olympians have their eyes set on New Palestine, which is ranked No. 2 in Class 5A.
“They are a great team and we have to be intense and play well,” McCarter said.