PASSAIC, NJ — The Columbia High School Cougars (3-3) fell to the Passaic County Technical Institute (PCTI) Bulldogs (2-3) in a heartbreaking loss on Friday night.
PCTI began the night with an impressive drive that concluded with a 15-yard run by Jevon Petgrave which was taken into the endzone to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead.
The Cougars responded with an impressive drive of their own. Wide receiver Michael Caines took a snap out of the wildcat formation and ran the football 54 yards for a Cougar touchdown, tying the game at seven with nine minutes to go in the first quarter.
The score would remain tied until late in the fourth quarter.
With two minutes left in the game the Bulldogs had the opportunity to win it all with a field goal, but the Cougars defense was able to block the kick, giving their offense the ball with good field position. Their opportunity to take the lead with a field goal or touchdown faded when PCTI’s defense shut the Cougars down forcing a punt from deep in their own territory. With less than a minute left on the clock the Bulldogs cruised downfield where Petgrave took a handoff 17 yards into the endzone, giving them a seven point lead. Columbia made several Hail Mary passes and lateral attempts in the remaining seconds but were unsuccessful, and fell by a score of 14-7.
In spite of the loss, Columbia’s defense continued the success they've had throughout the season. Linebacker Tristan Reynolds had multiple key tackles, including a third down stop deep in Cougar territory that forced a failed field goal attempt.
Defensive lineman Chris Byrd, Zamar Grove, and Justin Anderson consistently put pressure on the offense, and each earned a sack. The Cougars intercepted the Bulldogs twice — one by Michael Caines and the other a highlight reel grab by Owen McGuffey who leaped to grab the ball on a tipped pass and managed to keep two feet in bounds.
Junior running back Steve Henry had a great performance as well, rushing for over 40 yards on one of the Cougars' better drives. Bulldog running back Jevon Petgrave also played exceptionally, finishing the night with two touchdowns and over 100 yards rushing.
The Cougars will round out their 2020 season next game Thursday night at home against Belleville.
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