Columbia HS football team rallies past Memorial for first win of season

Al-Jay Henderson carries the ball during the loss to Central in the season opener. Photo by Steve Ellmore.

MAPLEWOOD, NJ – The Columbia High School varsity football team rallied for its first win of the season, beating Memorial of West New York, 28-20,  Friday, Sept. 7, in West New York.

The Cougars, under head coach Gary Mobley, improved to 1-1 on the season.

Trailing 20-14 going into the fourth quarter, the Cougars scored two touchdowns to win. Sophomore tailback Al-Jay Henderson scored on a 42-yard run and senior quarterback Luke Hayes had a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Drew Sinclair, a junior, kicked the extra points.

Henderson finished with 139 rushing yards on 15 carries and the TD. Trey Harris, a senior, had eight carries for 108 yards and two TDs. Hayes had five carries for 60 yards and the TD. Sophomore Kai Arrington had three carries for 36 yards.

Harris scored on a 74-yard run to tie it 7-7 in the second quarter after Memorial scored in the first quarter. Memorial scored at the end of the second quarter to take a 14-7 halftime lead. Harris had a 6-yard TD run in the third quarter to tie it 14-14. Sinclair kicked the extra points.

Defensively, junior linebacker Max Moore had nine tackles; junior defensive back Abdul Kone had eight tackles and two pass defensed; and sophomore tackle Justin Anderson posted six tackles and three tackles for loss.

Columbia will host Bloomfield Friday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at Underhill Field. Bloomfield fell to 1-1 after losing at North Bergen, 39-12.

In the season opener, the Cougars lost to Newark Central, 44-7, August 31 at Underhill Field.

Correction: The score of the Central game was incorrect. The correct score is 44-7.