The Raiders ground down the Oberlin Phoenix 48-18 on Friday in Columbia Station.
Raiders running back Brandon Coleman led the way, rushing for three touchdowns and catching one in the first half. Coleman was consistently able to run the ball up the middle and wear down the Phoenix defenders, many of whom also have to play offense due to the small Oberlin roster.
“I get tired, but I just keep pushing through it,” said Coleman, who finished the game with 24 carries for 171 yards. “We just kept pounding it at them and running the ball, keeping it on the ground and they were getting tired. Our guys were too, but we were just really strong out there.”
Raiders quarterback Cody Schwartz’s 49-yard touchdown run up the middle and extra point kick gave the Raiders a 7-0 lead with 9:38 remaining in the first quarter. Running back Devan Yarber, arguably the Phoenix’s best player this season, responded with another spectacular run.
Yarber swept right and turned the corner to blaze down the sideline for a 78-yard score. The two-point conversion try was no good but the Phoenix cut the lead to 7-6 with 8:41 left in the quarter.
“I give credit to my line blocking for me all year and doing everything they can for me,” Yarber said. “No matter how tired I am, I’ve just got to fight.”
The Raiders responded by driving to the Oberlin nine yard line, but the Phoenix defense forced a fourth down. It appeared the Raiders were about to turn the ball over on downs when Schwartz rolled right and appeared trapped. He scrambled left and threw across his body to a wide open Coleman in the end zone. Schwartz kicked another PAT, giving the Raiders a 14-6 lead with 1:53 remaining in the quarter and robbing Oberlin of an emotional boost.
Coleman followed with a 21-yard scoring run up the middle on the Raider’s next possession. Schwartz missing the extra point and Columbia (8-2) led 20-6 with 10:40 left in the second quarter.
Running back Adrien Kilgore responded with a 55-yard touchdown run down the left sideline. The two-point conversion failed, yet Oberlin narrowed the lead to 20-12 with 9:38 left in the second quarter.
Coleman responded with a 13-yard scoring run. Schwartz kicked the extra point increasing the Raider lead to 27-12 with 5:57 left in the first half.
Yarber then threw in option pass to receiver Matt Stanfield down the left sideline for a 41-yard touchdown. After a failed conversion, the lead was 27-18 with 5:32 left in the half.
The Raiders ground game was too much for the Phoenix. Coleman swept in for a six-yard touchdown and Schwartz kicked the extra point giving Columbia 34-18 lead at the half.
Running back Mike Jacobucci rushed for a six-yard TD and Schwartz connected, giving Columbia an insurmountable 41-18 lead with 1:30 left in the third quarter.
The Raiders’ last score came on a five-yard touchdown pass from Schwartz to receiver Jared Heidecker with Schwartz hitting the extra point. It gave Columbia a 48-18 lead with 11:52 left in the game.
Oberlin finished the season 4-6. While below .500, the Phoenix doubled the number of wins from last year despite often playing teams with deeper rosters and more experienced players.
Coach Garrett Mack told his players he was proud of them for sticking through adversity. He singled out the seniors, several of whom had to learn new positions.
“You set the ground work for a great program,” Mack said. “You’ve done a tremendous job.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.
Joe Colon | Oberlin News-Tribune Oberlin’s Ramarie’a Eisom breaks away for a touchdown run in Friday’s season-closing 48-18 loss to the Columbia Raiders.