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Shaker avoids upset in season opener

Oppelt's fourth-quarter TD leads Bison past Columbia

Shaker’s Ryan Griffin, right, enters the end zone untouched for a third-quarter touchdown in last Friday’s home opener against Columbia. The Blue Bison rallied for a 32-28 victory over the Blue Devils.

Shaker’s Ryan Griffin, right, enters the end zone untouched for a third-quarter touchdown in last Friday’s home opener against Columbia. The Blue Bison rallied for a 32-28 victory over the Blue Devils. Photo by Rob Jonas.

— That sequence of events proved to be a harbinger of what was to come in the second half. Shaker's offense moved the ball at will on Columbia's defense, while the Bison defense made a pair of critical plays to turn the tide.

Junior running back Kenny Jackson got things going for Shaker right out of the gate following halftime. Jackson took the handoff from Landers on the first play from scrimmage and raced 65 yards for a touchdown. Griffin added the extra point to pull the Bison within a point at 20-19.

Shaker's next offensive series looked like it was going to stall deep in its own end of the field after a fumble and a penalty drove it back. But Griffin came to the rescue with a long run to midfield, and he capped the drive a short time later with a 4-yard touchdown run to put the Bison ahead 25-20. It was Shaker's first lead of the game.

Columbia's offense started moving the ball on the ensuing series, but it ended when Shaker's defense forced Connor Ramon to fumble the ball inside Bison territory after catching a long pass from Stanley. Though it didn't result in any points for Shaker, it did allow the Bison to pin Columbia deep in its own territory following a long punt by Griffin that was downed at the 1-yard line.

The Blue Devils didn't fold when faced with the prospect of going the length of the field for a touchdown. Instead, Stanley took matters into his own hands with a long run for a first down near midfield and two pinpoint throws to wide receiver Anthony Maney to get his team deep into Shaker territory. Smith ended the series with a 5-yard touchdown run, and Stanley added a two-point conversion run to give Columbia a 28-25 lead with less than five minutes left in the fourth quarter.

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