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MADISON — Columbus East opened this year’s postseason the same way it closed its regular season — with authority.
The Class 4A top-ranked Olympians took early control of their IHSAA Sectional 23 first-round battle at Madison, putting big numbers on the scoreboard in the first half and rolling to a 55-6 romp against the Cubs.
East (10-0) racked up 324 total yards of offense in the first half and limited the hosts to 123, with much of that coming in the final few minutes of the second quarter. The O’s thumped Madison (4-6) three weeks ago 41-7 in a Hoosier Hills Conference contest and have now beaten the Cubs 15 consecutive times since 2000.
Coach Bob Gaddis’ crew will host Greenwood (5-5) in semifinal sectional play at 7 p.m. Nov. 1. The Woodmen advanced with a 48-32 win against South Dearborn (0-10).
“I think the guys came out with intensity and really got things done,” Gaddis said. “When the game was still in question, they executed well and did not make mistakes.”
With the Cubs determined to stop East junior power back Markell Jones, quarterback Alex Cowan took to the air and connected on a trio of touchdown passes, including a pair to J.T. Voelker for 48 and 22 yards. His first completion of the evening was a 33-yard scoring strike to Sean Owens less than two minutes into the contest.
Cowan was 5 of 6 for 156 yards in the first half with Voelker having 125 of those. The senior signal-caller finished with 181 yards as he engineered one last scoring drive early in the third quarter.
“Alex threw the ball very well tonight and our receivers did a great job catching just about everything,” said Gaddis. “We want our passing game to be efficient and it was.”
Involving area teams:
Columbus East 55,
Columbus North 22
North Decatur 20
Evansville Central 77
Brown County 42,
South Putnam 64,
Trinity Lutheran 0
West Washington 21,
South Decatur 12
State scores, C2
Local stats, C3
Jones still proved to be a brute against Madison’s defense, racking up 104 yards rushing on just nine carries in the first half. His 52-yard breakaway touchdown run just seconds into the second quarter put the Olympians in front 28-0. He added three more carries in the third quarter, including a 7-yard score to finish with 121 yards.
Cowan and Christian Wichman also added 7-yard scoring runs, as the visitors built a commanding 41-0 lead before the Cubs finally got on the scoreboard after Kody Boles fired a 17-yard pass to Jordan Partee.
The East defense swarmed Madison throughout most of the evening, forcing the hosts to be basically one-dimensional. The Cubs Mitchell Sandlin managed to run for 94 against the O’s, but it took him 30 attempts to do so.
“We wanted our defensive line to control things and it did,” added Gaddis. “I think they took away most of what Madison likes to do.”
Several O’s disrupted the Cubs’ action, including seniors Dalton Bateman, Brock Patterson and Logan Galarno, while Sam Dwenger and Nick Beamish each came up with interceptions.
“We had a great week of practice and it paid off,” said Gaddis. “Everyone contributed in getting ready and all of our kids who dressed got in the game.”
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