PASS CHRISTIAN – The Columbia Wildcats (13-0) put up 14 fourth-quarter points to put away the Pass Christian Pirates 42-7 in their third-round game of the 4A state playoffs on Friday night. The Wildcats will play in the South State Championship next Friday.
“We’re very proud,” said Columbia coach Chip Bilderback. “We had a very tough week of preparation. Coach Stockstill has done a great job. Pass is a really good team that has won nine games for a reason. They had our kids’ attention.
“We played a complete game,” said Bilderback. “That’s where our challenge was. We played four quarters. Our goal was to be practicing on Thanksgiving. There’s nothing better because there are only two teams in 4A in South Mississippi who are practicing on Thanksgiving. Our kids are excited about practicing next Thursday.”
Pass High (9-3) was playing for the first time in school history in the third round of the playoffs. They fell behind 21-0 in the first two-quarters of play after it appeared that they had set the tone early with their defense stopping Columbia on their first possession, giving up only two yards and forcing a punt. The Pirates’ offense was rewarded with excellent field position following a short punt, fielded at the Columbia 37-yard line.
But the rewards of the defense’s first stand didn’t last long as the Pirates lost the ball to the visitors on the Pirates’ first offensive play of the game.
Columbia would score their first of three first-half touchdowns four plays later.
“Playoff football is not always about making plays,” said Pass High coach Jeff Stockstill. “It’s about not making mistakes and capitalizing on other teams’ mistakes. Unfortunately, we turned and gave it right back to them on the very next play, and things went downhill from there.
“I’m satisfied with the season,” said Stockstill. “Our seniors put a lot of heart and soul into this. They really wanted to make a difference, and I think they did. Hats off to Columbia. That’s a really good team. I’m not sure who they’ll have next, but whoever it is, they’re going to have their hands full.”
Columbia took a 21-0 lead into halftime. Early in the third quarter, the Pirates appeared to have made some adjustments as they would have their best offensive drive on their second possession of the second half, following the recovery of a Columbia fumble.
Ladd Scriber connected with Terry Patton Jr. for 12 yards to the Columbia 40-yard line. Two plays later, Jacquez Alexander-Dedeaux broke tackles for a 17-yard gain. Then Scriber connected with Braylon Laneaux for a 13-yard gain to the visitors’ 10-yard line. Scriber would again connect with Patton in the end zone for the score from 10 yards out.
The Pirates would attempt a short high kick on the ensuing kickoff, and the play appeared to have been executed perfectly as the receiver was hit as he handled it. He didn’t hold onto the ball, which was recovered by Pass.
Unfortunately, Pass was penalized 15 yards for a personal foul for making contact with the kick returner before he touched the ball.
“They we hit him before he touched the ball, and I know that’s not true,” said Stockstill. “But that’s a tough break right there. It seemed like the whole night offensively, we took one step forward and two steps back. We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. Our effort was never not there. These guys continued to play hard. They continued to make adjustments. Their heads stayed in the game.”
“It’s been a good ride,” said Patton. “Of course, we didn’t want to lose like this. It was a really good season. We worked really hard during the summer, and we fought every game. We fought to the end. We just lost tonight.”