Football Lookahead: Linsly Welcomes Columbus Crusaders

Playing at home for the first time proved to be just what the doctor ordered for Coach B.J. Depew and his Linsly squad last week.

The Cadets, who had suffered a pair of tough-to-swallow losses the previous two weeks, got back on track with a 26-7 victory against Allderdice last Saturday and look to stay there this week when the Columbus Crusaders (1-4) pay a visit to the Linsly campus.

Depew’s crew did in just about every aspect of the game against Allderdice, forcing four fumbles on defense, getting a special teams touchdown and mixing up the run and pass successfully.

“We felt going into last week that we needed everyone to contribute and that is what we got,” Depew said. “Creating turnovers were a big part of things because it was a game that it seemed like it was just so hard to grab momentum. There wasn’t much of it in the first quarter, and neither team was able to get an advantage.

“Luckily for us we had enough big plays to get it done and get the victory.”

Junior Chimechi Oparanozie played a big part in things, as he usually does, being part of a three-man flea-flicker play that gave the Cadets a lead for good at 14-7 in the second quarter, then returning the second half kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown to make it a two-score lead.

He also added a late touchdown run for the finishing touches.

Oparanozie finished with 90 hard-earned rushing yards on 24 carries and has rushed for 574 on the campaign. His nine touchdowns also have him among the Ohio Valley leaders in that category as well.

Quarterback Jameson Murray did his part, completing 4 of 4 tosses for 142 yards and a score. A pair of those went to Zak Kriechbaum for 62 yards and the other 57 yards to sophomore Jay Mascara to set up the final touchdown of the afternoon.

The Crusaders use a one-back, four-receiver set and like to get the ball around. Their main threat is 5-foot-9, 140-pound speedy receiver Carl Jones, who also returns kicks and is the free safety on defense. Donald Stinson will get the brunt of the carries when Columbus does decide to run the football.

“We have played them all eight seasons that I have been here and every year they are one of our most challenging opponents,” Depew said. “They are always a very tough and hard-nosed team and we always seem to get their best efforts.

“And it doesn’t matter if they are up or down, it turns into a four-quarter battle.”

Linsly has won six of the eight meetings between the two clubs.