MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The Bloomfield Bengals, led by senior quarterback Kyle Tice, defeated the Columbia Cougars 42-21 in a Super Football Conference Liberty Blue game Friday night at Underhill Field.
After a scoreless first quarter, Bloomfield scored on the first play of the second quarter with Tice passing to senior wide receiver Brandon Holt to lead 6-0. Columbia answered back on the first play from scrimmage on the next possession to go ahead 7-6.
The Cougars added to their lead midway through the second quarter when Columbia junior running back Djavan King rushed for an 8-yard touchdown to put the Cougars ahead 14-6. This would be the last lead for the Cougars as Bloomfield reeled off 36 unanswered points.
On the next drive, Tice connected with junior running back Dante Gibbs on a 60-yard pass play for a touchdown followed by a successful two-point conversion pass to senior running back William Robinson to tie the game 14-14 with 4:40 to go in the second quarter.
After a big Bengals defensive stop and change of possession, Tice hooked up with Gibbs again on a 25-yard pass to bring Bloomfield down to the Cougars’ 21-yard-line. Tice then threw a 21-yard touchdown pass – his third of the game – to Robinson, followed by another successful two-point conversation to give the Bengals a 22-14 lead with 1:46 to go in the second quarter.
The Bengals defense held Columbia to a quick three-and-out deep in Cougars territory while using their timeouts to stop the clock Columbia, with only 6-seconds remaining in the half, punted instead of kneeling to run out the clock. The punt attempt was muffed, and Gibbs recovered the fumble in the endzone as time expired to close out the first half with Bloomfield ahead 29-14.
Bloomfield extended their lead to 36-14 after senior running back Joseph Orsita scored on a 15-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.
With the Bloomfield offense poised to score again on a running play from the 2-yard-line, senior guard Xavier Gulley recovered a fumble at the goal line for another Bengals touchdown. After a failed two-point attempt, Bloomfield led 42-14 with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter.
Columbia closed out the scoring with a rushing touchdown with 2:40 remaining, but it was too little, too late, as Bloomfield earned a decisive 42-21 win.
Columbia falls to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the conference. They lost their season opener to Central High School of Newark 44-7 on August 31, but defeated Memorial High School of West New York 28-20 last Friday.
With this win, Bloomfield improves to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference. Bloomfield won their season opener when they overpowered Nutley 33-20 on August 30 at Foley Field, but lost last week 39-12 in North Bergen. They were both non-conference games.
Next Friday, September 21, Bloomfield visits Bayonne High School at 6:30 pm, while Columbia travels to West Orange for a 7 p.m. contest.