Columbia looked far from one of the top-10 Class 2A teams in the state Thursday night but the Capitals still had more than enough firepower to coast past Eau Claire 39-12 at Memorial Stadium.
The Capitals' first two possessions ended with a fumble and a missed field goal, but they scored on their final three series of the first half. Still, a flurry of penalties and miscues left Columbia coach Kemper Amick shaking his head.
"We came out flat and it certainly wasn't our best effort," Amick said. "We had some penalties that we have to go back and look at the film to see what is going on, but that is something we have to correct."
Columbia (6-1, 2-0 in Region 5-2A) used the arm and legs of Kevin Davis and the running of DeErik Bradley to take control. Davis accounted for two touchdowns rushing and two more through the air. The senior had 242 yards total offense. He scored on runs of 15 and 2 yards and added a 15-yard scoring pass to Justin Metze and an 8-yarder to McArtha Thompson.
"He's our guy," Amick said of Davis. "We didn't really know what we had until about the sixth game last year. He was on the junior varsity because he didn't play in the ninth or tenth grade and we brought him up after we had all those injuries. He has exceeded anything we expected out of him."
Bradley was the workhorse on the ground with 152 yards on 17 carries. He scored the Caps' first touchdown on a 7-yard scamper.
It was the second touchdown drive that left Amick perplexed. The Capitals drove 91 yards but had to overcome penalties on three consecutive plays that wiped out big gains.
Davis hit Justin Metze on a 15-yard fade pattern to end the 11-play drive.
"Penalties are like turnovers," Amick said. "We had some big plays wiped out and those types of things aren't what good teams do this late in the season. But I guess we made some big plays to overcome it."
Eau Claire gift-wrapped the final touchdown of the half. Unable to run out the clock after taking over with a little more than two minutes remaining, the Shamrocks (0-7, 0-2), attempted a punt that netted zero yards to give the Capitals the ball at the Eau Claire 36-yard line with 33 seconds remaining.
Davis connected on two passes before scrambling in from 15 yards out with 11 seconds to go before the break.
The Capitals put it out of reach on their first drive of the third quarter. Davis hit a wide-open McArtha Thompson on an 8-yard scoring strike to make it 27-0 three minutes into the second half.
Eau Claire avoided the shutout with two scoring runs from Jerry Arrington-Smith in the fourth quarter.
EC 0 0 0 12 - 12 C 0 21 12 6 - 39
C - DeErik Bradley 7 run (McArtha Thompson kick) 9:32
C - Justin Metze 15 pass from Kevin Davis (kick failed) 2:16
C - Davis 15 run (Demetri Cureton run) :11
C - McArtha Thompson 8 pass from Davis (kick failed) 8:54
C - Thompson 11 interception return (run failed) :30
EC - Jerry Arrington-Smith 3 run (kick failed) 9:35
C - Davis 2 run (kick blocked) 5:00
EC - Arrington-Smith 1 run (kick blocked) :23
First Downs 9 19
Rushes-yds 26-74 37-257
Passing yds 145 159
Comp-Att-Int 7-20-2 14-19-1
Punts 6-21.0 0-0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties 4-40 9-86
RUSHING - EC: P. White 8-29, R. Weeks 7-17, J. Arrington-Smith 10-29. C: D. Bradley 17-152, K. Davis 11-83, D. Cureton 5-14, R. Weeks 4-8.
PASSING - EC: R. Weeks 5-18-2-127, J. Stuckey 2-2-0-18. C: K. Davis 14-19-1-159.
RECEIVING - EC: D. Purcell 3-92, J. Arrington-Smith 1-19, J. Stuckey 1-14, M. Richardson 1-16, V. Davis 1-10. C: C. Gladney 3-44, J. Metze 2-22, C. Reed 4-56, D. Bradley 1-7, R. Weeks 3-22, M. Thompson 1-8.
Kevin Davis, Columbia
The senior quarterback threw for 159 yards and two touchdowns and added 83 yards on the ground with two more touchdowns.
McArtha Thompson, Columbia
The junior two-way player scored an offensive touchdown on an 8-yard pass and then added an 11-yard interception return for a touchdown.