Keenan locked up home-field advantage in the first round of the Class 2A state playoffs for the second year in a row by defeating Columbia 21-8 at Bolden Stadium on Friday.
The Raiders (7-2, 3-1) are assured of no worse than a No. 2 seed out of Region 4-2A.
"We had to overcome some things, but I'm really proud of the way these kids hung tough when some things go against us in the first half," Keenan coach Mitch Moton said.
"We challenge them at halftime to go out and execute, play fundamental football, and they really responded."
Never miss a local story.
The Raiders' defense took command after intermission, limiting the Capitals to 77 yards and zero points. Big-play Columbia quarterback Kevin Davis was knocked out of the game in the third quarter.
"We put together a great defensive game plan, and it was an outstanding performance," Moton said. "Now, we have to stop leaving points on the field like we did in the first half."
The Capitals had an 8-6 halftime lead and a 173-166 edge in offensive yardage. Enter the Keenan defense, which produced the game-winning points in the third quarter. Defensive lineman Tevin McClurkin scooped out a Capitals fumble and ran eight yards for a touchdown with 3:15 to go in the third. A two-point conversion pass from Antonio Perry to William Moore made it 14-8.
Keenan iced the game with Phillip George's 5-yard scoring run on the first play of the fourth quarter. George finished with 122 yards rushing on 20 carries, and made key plays on defense.
"I can't say enough about Phillip," Moton said. "We ask him to do an awful lot for us on both sides of the ball. I think he's one of the most underrated players in the state."
The Caps scored an improbable touchdown on the last play of the first half to take an 8-6 lead into the break. Davis, who lost one fumble and threw two interceptions in the opening 24 minutes, scored on a weaving 23-yard run.
"Keenan had a great plan for us and did a good job," said Capitals coach Kemper Amick, whose team fell to 7-2, 3-1.
"My kids played hard, but I think the adversity got them down in the second half."
Columbia plays host to first-place Central next with a chance to create a three-way tie for the region championship.
Columbia 2 6 0 0-8
Keenan 0 6 8 7-21
C - Safety, 2:55
K - Spencer Jasper 19 pass from Antonio Perry (kick failed), 8:44
C - Kevin Davis 23 run (kick failed), 0:00
K - Tevin McClurkin 8 fumble return (William Moore pass from Perry), 3:15
K - Phillip George 5 run (Moore kick), 11:54
First downs 14 14
Rushing 30-133 30-156
Passing yards 117 125
Att-Com-Int 26-11-3 22-14-1
Fumbles-lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties 6-40 6-85
Punts 3-84 3-106
RUSHING - C, Bradley 9-12, Davis 7-43, Thompson 2-5, Weeks 6-30, Gladney 6-43. K, George 20-122, Perry 6-32, Moore 2-0.
PASSING - C, Davis 8-17-2-102, Gladney 3-9-1-15. K, Perry 14-22-1-125.
RECEIVING - I, Gladney 2-26, Reid 4-63. K, Jasper 8-57, Rowe 3-32, Williams 1-23, Moore 2-13.