Zelinsky hits late field goal to lift Columbia Raiders

ROCKY RIVER — Columbia kicker Matt Zelinsky nailed a last second, game-winning field goal last night to lift the Raiders over Lutheran West for a 16-14 victory. He kicked the game winner in the pouring rain, overcoming his missed potential game-tying extra point just four minutes earlier. It was also the only time Columbia had lead the entire game, upsetting the Longhorn’s homecoming celebration and raising the Raiders to a 6-1 record on the season.

The kick also came after costly facemask and pass interference penalties by Lutheran West.

The game started soggy as Longhorns senior running back Chris Ranc fought for yards in the conditions, but could not get enough on the opening drive for a first down. The following Columbia possession was stifled by Ranc as he sacked Columbia quarterback Jay Banyasz for a five-yard loss, forcing the Raiders to punt.

Both teams continued to trade the ball until senior linebacker Ryan O’Connor intercepted Banyasz with just a few seconds left in the first quarter. A 12-yard completion to junior wide receiver Derek Naim put the Longhorns in Raiders territory to close the opening quarter.

But after a failed series, a Lutheran West punt pinned Columbia back on their own 9-yard line. A subsequent sack of Banyasz by Tyler Cerny for a loss of five yards, followed by a combined sack with Geye, forced the Raiders to punt and the Longhorns started in excellent position on Columbia’s 30-yard line after the return.

Lutheran West quarterback Greg Kunze threw a 16-yard completion to Geye, although it was debatable; it appeared the defender may have had more possession than the wideout, similar to the Golden Tate touchdown reception against the Green Bay Packers.

That reception set up an 11-yard touchdown over the top to a wide-open Geye in the corner of the end zone. The extra point by Andrew O’Hara flubbed but bounced into and over the goalpost to put the Longhorns on the board first 7-0 with 6:28 left in the 2nd quarter.

A huge 24-yard pass from Banyasz to Austin Walaszewski and some hard-fought runs by the quarterback and running back Jacob Kleinhenz were shining points for the Raiders in the first half. After careful use of timeouts, an 11-yard pass to Jesse Lambert set up a tough 45-yard missed field goal which left Columbia scoreless at halftime.

Columbia went three-and-out to open the half, and a 38-yard pass from Kunze to Masek combined with a pass interference call on the Raiders put the Longhorns in scoring position. They attempted a 30-yard field goal, but that was also missed.

A 12-yard screen pass to Lambert and a 27-yard completion over the middle to Bryan Horn helped give Columbia some much-needed momentum. Banyasz scrambled for 15 yards and set up a 2-yard touchdown by Tristen Rindfleisch to tie the score at 7-7 late in the third quarter.

Penalties plagued the Raiders, as a facemask lead Lutheran West to Columbia’s 45-yard line and numerous encroachment calls helped the Longhorns into the red zone. On 3rd-and-goal from the 3-yard line, Kunze threw his second touchdown of the night to Tyler Cerny. The extra point by O’Hara made the score 14-7 with 8:47 left in the fourth quarter.

Although Lutheran West had a strong defensive stand, Columbia went for it on 4th-and-13 and Banyasz threw a clutch first-down pass to tight end Ben Verbus. Kleinhenz hauled in a 3-yard touchdown, but the extra point by Zelinsky bounced off the left goal post to make it 13-14 with just four minutes left in the game.

Lutheran West tried to run down the clock, but timeouts by Columbia left enough time for them to shock the Longhorns with Zelinsky’s kick on the buzzer.

Next week, Columbia (6-1) will face Brooklyn (0-7) and Lutheran West (3-4) will head to Clearview (5-2).

@MJournalSports

Columbia 16, Lutheran West 14

Patriot Athletic Conference

Stripes Division

Columbia (6-1, 4-0) 0 0 7 9 — 16

Lutheran West (3-4, 1-3) 0 7 0 7 — 14

Scoring

LW — Aaron Geye 11 pass from Greg Kunze (Andrew O’Hara kick)

C — Tristen Rindfleisch 2 run (Matt Zelinsky kick)

LW — Tyler Cerny 3 pass from Kunze (O’Hara kick)

C — Kleinhenz 3 run (kick failed)

C — Zelinsky 24 FG

Last Updated: 10/6/2012 12:12:07 AM EST

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