All-Around Performance: Bull Dogs get scores from all three phases in shutout of Olympians

Columbus North’s Gino Prescott celebrates scoring the Bull Dogs’ first touchdown against Columbus East at Columbus East, Friday, Aug. 25, 2023.

Paige Grider | For The Republic

Penalties and turnovers plagued Columbus East early during its crosstown rivalry clash with Columbus North Friday night.

It led to Bull Dogs touchdowns, and the Olympians couldn’t recover in the second half, which gave North the 41-0 victory.

North scored in every aspect of the game, including blocked field goal and an interception return for a touchdown and a safety in the second half. Bull Dog students went on the field following the game to celebrate with the team in what was one of the most lopsided victories over five decades that the rivalry has existed.

“There’s a lot of things you can point to that led to the 41-0 loss we took tonight,” East coach Eddie Vogel said. “We can’t make mistakes like getting a field goal blocked for a touchdown. We had an interception for a touchdown where they took it out of our hands. We had some bad snaps and took us out of a drive for a safety. With a football team like (North), you can’t do that and expect to win.”

The Bull Dogs (2-0) had great field position on its second drive after the Olympians (0-2) fumbled a snap, and Keller DeSpain recovered to put North at the East 12-yard line. Two plays later, Gino Prescott ran it in for a 12-yard touchdown, and Bryce Luttrell’s extra point made it 7-0.

The Olympians got their offense going on the ensuing possession. A couple of big pass plays from Kyson Villarreal to Keaton Lawson and Cam Herron put the ball just outside 20-yard line. A pass interference call on the Bull Dogs put the ball at the 11. After the drive stalled, East lined up for the 25-yard field goal. Tyrrice Degraffenreid blocked the kick, picked it up on a bounce recovered and ran it back 82 yards down the sideline for the touchdown and a 13-0 lead with 4:47 left in the first quarter.

“I knew I was getting it,” DeGraffenreid said. “After I saw that (open) field, I was just getting going. I wasn’t trying to get caught.”

The Olympians couldn’t gather their rhythm offensively, and their next two drives ended with punts. North worked its way down the field, but couldn’t convert the drives into touchdowns and settled for field goals. Lutrell kicked a 31-yard field goal, and on the Bull Dogs’ final possession of the first half, Lutrell booted another field goal, this one from 27 yards to extend the lead to 19-0 at the half.

On East’s first drive of the second half, Caaden Gault had a 19-yard run to highlight a drive that went just past midfield. However, Zach Foster’s fourth-down pass was intercepted by Jackson Haston, who took it back 66 yards for the pick six to increase the lead to 26-0 after Lutrell’s extra point.

“When we (he and the receiver) both went up for it, I just came down with it with all the strength I have and then just took off,” Haston said. “It’s amazing. This is my first away varsity game, and the experience is just totally different from a Saturday morning (JV) game. With the team and fans and everything, it’s just amazing.”

On the ensuing possession, the Olympians were forced to punt, and Haston returned it to the 38. It only took one play before North quarterback Asher Ratliff found Braylon Thoman for a 38-yard touchdown to make it 32-0 with 7:58 left in the third after the blocked extra point.

Things only went from bad to worse for East when another bad snap forced the ball back to the 2-yard-line. Villarreal tried to pick it up and run, but was tackled in the end zone by Keller DeSpain and Dumo Kak for a safety to make it 34-0.

On the next possession for the Olympians, the running game pushed the ball all the way to the Bull Dogs’ 11-yard line. Two plays later, Garrett Long intercepted Villarreal to end the one of the best drives of the night for East.

North then wasted no time charging down the field. Prescott ran the ball for 65 yards to the 12, and on the next play, ran it in from there to make it 41-0 after the extra point to end the third quarter. A running clock was triggered for the fourth quarter.

Prescott, making his first varsity start in place of the injured Sam Mormino, finished with 11 carries for 131 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s magical right here,” Prescott said. “I’ve dreamed for stuff like this since Little League. This is what I’ve worked so hard for.”

The game was pushed back an hour to an 8 p.m. kickoff due to the excessive heat that has hit Columbus this past week.

“Despite the heat, we got them going. We started off strong,” North coach Logan Haston said. “Kudos to our defense. They really set the tone for us. Offensively, it took us a second to get going. We got into our rhythm, and all sides of the ball played well.”

Columbus North 41, Columbus East 0

Columbus North;13;6;22;0;—;41

Columbus East;0;0;0;0;—;0

CN—Gino Prescott 12 run (Bryce Luttrell kick), 4:47.

CN—Tyrrice DeGraffenreid 82 blocked field goal return (kick failed), :33.

CN—Luttrell 31 FG, 3:13.

CN—Luttrell 27 FG, :13.

CN—Jackson Haston 66 interception return (Luttrell kick), 9:03.

CN—Braylon Thoman 38 pass from Asher Ratliff (kick blocked), 7:58.

CN—Safety, Keller DeSpain and Dumo Kak tackled Kyson Villarreal in end zone, 7:08.

CN—Prescott 12 run (Luttrell kick), :00.

Individual statistics

RUSHING — Columbus North: Prescott 11-131, Ratliff 10-37, Tyson Arnold 5-16, Jordan Briner 1-(-4). Columbus East: Tyler Weller 7-39, Caaden Gault 2-20, Thomas Houpey 9-18, Zach Foster 6-13, Brayden Everroad 4-5, Kyson Villarrael 8-2.

PASSING — Columbus North: Ratliff 6 for 14, 86 yards, 1 touchdown, 0 interceptions. Columbus East: Villarreal 6-17-68-0-1, Foster 1-6-4-0-1.

RECEIVING — Columbus North: Thoman 2-49, Briner 3-31, Elijah Smith 1-6. Columbus East: Cam Herron 1-19, Jared Brooks 3-18, Kamden Shelley 1-18, Keaton Lawson 2-17.