Columbia shuts out rival Suwannee, 40-0

Columbia Tigers quarterback Jayce Barber looks for his receiver before throwing for a touchdown in a game earlier this year.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, November 10, 2012 at 12:21 a.m.

LAKE CITY — This week was an emotional one for the Columbia High School football team as it prepared to play for the Oaken Bucket against rival Suwannee on Friday night.

On Tuesday, the Tigers and the Lake City community was shaken by the news that Columbia starting running back Braxton Stockton suffered a freak injury to his eye during practice.

It ended up being such a severe injury that Columbia coach Brian Allen said Stockton has lost vision in his left eye and that doctors will have to remove it and replace it with an artificial one.

Despite the sobering news, the Tigers rallied around their injured teammate who was in attendance and pounded Suwannee 40-0 on Friday night.

Ronald Timmons rushed for 88 yards and a pair of touchdowns on seven carries all coming in the first half, as the Tigers (9-1) defeated the Bulldogs (3-7) for the fifth straight year.

Columbia scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 2:57 of the first half to carry a comfortable 34-0 lead into the break. Jayce Barber, who also just played in the first half, was 6-for-8 passing for 52 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

But for Allen, who played linebacker at Columbia, Florida State and in the NFL, Stockton’s injury was something that he has never seen before.

“It was an iso play, the running back behind the quarterback (Jayce Barber), as he is handing it off the kid tackles the quarterback, knocking the quarterback into the running back and we get this major injury from it,” Allen said. “We knew right then it was serious as he was rushed to the emergency room and had five-hour surgery Wednesday morning.”

Allen said he was impressed with the positive way Stockton was handling the injury. The coach said it helped him and the rest of the team handle the situation.

“I invest so much in these kids, they are like my family. I am hurting when they are hurting,” Allen said. “The thing that I was most proud about of this situation, I found out how much this team loves each other.

“These kids really care about one another and I could see that with one of their brothers going down.”

On the field, the Tigers rolled just like they have for the majority of the season. Columbia held Suwannee to a negative six yards of total offense. The Tigers rushed for 186 yards on 30 carries.

Lonnie Underwood had a rushing touchdown, Nate Ayers and Alex Weber each caught scoring passes from Barber and Brant Nelson hit a pair of second-half field goals (28, 29) to fuel Columbia’s effort.

Suwannee was also plagued by 10 fumbles, losing three.

“A great offense is going to have a tough time moving the ball against that defense, that’s a reason why they are 9-1 on the year,” Suwannee coach Jamie Rodgers said. “That is one of the best defenses we’ve seen on film this year. When they are that good you definitely can’t put the ball on the ground that many times.”

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