Columbus North senior wide receiver Jaylen Flemmons made plays over the field in the last crosstown rivalry game of his career Friday night at Columbus East.
It was just a three-point game after the first half, but the Bull Dogs outscored East by 14 points in the final two quarters for a 34-17 victory against the Class 5A No. 1-ranked Olympians.
“I have all the respect in the world for Columbus East,” North coach Tim Bless said. “To come into the No. 1-ranked team in the state on their home field, and to prevail against a great opponent feels so rewarding.”
Class 6A No. 12 North (2-0) settled for a Drew Wilson 31-yard field goal on the first drive of the game, and East (1-1) took a 7-3 lead on a Josh Major 41-yard touchdown. The Bull Dogs opened the second quarter with another 26-yard field goal from Wilson before Olympians kicker Sam Thomasson booted a 30-yard field goal of his own for a 10-6 lead.
Tristan Bailey scored North’s first touchdown of the game on a 36-yard catch from quarterback Trenton Kelley for the third lead change of the half.
East came out rolling on the first drive of the second half and punched it in on a 23-yard run from Jamon Hogan to take a 17-13 lead.
The Bull Dogs, though, kept coming. Flemmons had a solid second half, starting with a 15-yard touchdown catch from Kelley to regain the lead.
The Olympians marched down the field and were nine yards away from scoring before a game-changing interception in the end zone from J.D. Harris swung the momentum to North for the rest of the game. That was Major’s first incomplete pass and interception of the season.
“We made some mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes against a good football team in that type of game,” East coach Bob Gaddis said. “I was happy with our preparation this week. I was happy at times with the way we played, but I wasn’t happy with the way we executed.”
Flemmons and the rest of the North passing attack kept the pressure the Olympians. Flemmons finished with 10 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed a pass to D’Andre Scruggs for 17 yards and even carried the ball once for four yards.
“It felt really good because I didn’t do well last week, and I really wanted to come out and make some plays against East,” Flemmons said. “Because of how tall our receivers are and how fast we are, they had to back up a lot, so we had a bunch of short stuff early, and then we got to go long later.”
North receiver Tristan Bailey had had four receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown. Kelley had North’s second all-time high in single-game yards with 303.
East running back Jamon Hogan struggled early, but found some holes in the second half and finished with 162 yards on 26 carries. Major finished with 98 yards on 15 carries.
“(East) shoved it down our throat in the third quarter, but we prevailed and kept fighting,” Bless said.