Down to just 21 players dressed due to COVID-19 quarantine, the Colby Eagles found enough gas in the tank for a fourth-quarter comeback and defensive stand to preserve their unbeaten start to the season.
Ryan Myers’ two-yard run with 6:29 to go and a fourth-down stop at their own seven yard line with just under four minutes to play lifted the Eagles to a 13-8 win over the Ulysses Tigers in Ulysses on Friday night. The win moves Colby to 3-0 overall and in the Great West Activities Conference, while Ulysses is now 0-3 overall and 0-3 in GWAC play.
Among those absent for Colby were four offensive line starters and three defensive starters, plus several valuable depth pieces. Some Eagles found themselves at new positions, and many of the starters played every snap of the game. Their effort was enough to hold off a Tiger team that was seeking their first win in their first home game of the season.
Colby scored the only touchdown of the first half, with Hagan Booi capping off a 12-play, 88-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run with 0:22 left in the first quarter. Carson Van Eaton’s extra point made it 7-0, and the Colby defense recovered two fumbles in their own territory late in the second quarter to keep Ulysses off the scoreboard.
Ulysses would hit on a trick play on a fourth-and-long late in the third quarter, with wide receiver Oscar Martinez taking a reverse pitch and passing to a wide-open Evan Cortez for a 39-yard touchdown with 0:50 left in the third. Jessie Rosales ran in the two-point conversion to make it 8-7 Ulysses and leave Colby trailing for the first time all season. But the Eagles had a response on the ensuing drive, a 12-play, 71-yard march punctuated by Myers’ go-ahead run. The Eagles went for two and did not convert, leaving them ahead by just five points.
Brennan Vagher took the first play of the next Ulysses drive 47 yards to the Colby 15 yard line, but the Eagle defense stiffened and stopped Vagher a yard shy of the first down on fourth-and-two from the Colby 7. The Eagle offense took over with 3:49 left and picked up three first downs to kill off the rest of the clock.
The win is Colby’s fourth straight over Ulysses in the series. They begin district play next Friday night at Smoky Valley.
Hear the postgame remarks from Colby coach Rees McKinney:
And listen back to the game’s highlights: