By Doug Gorman
All Columbia needed Friday at Tara Stadium was a second-half wakeup call.
The Eagles scored 16 straight points in the third and fourth quarters Friday night at Tara Stadium to break a tie at halftime, while going on to defeat Forest Park 30-22 in a Region 5-AAAA contest.
The loss dropped Forest Park to 2-6 overall and 0-3 in subregion action. Columbia helped its playoff chances by improving to 6-2 overall and 2-1 in subregion competition.
Columbia outgained Forest Park 265 to 199 with most of the yardage coming on the ground for both teams, which went to halftime tied at 14-14.
Karlo Brownlee and Taurean Rhodes were the offensive catalyst for the Eagles with two touchdowns each.
Three different players found the end zone for Forest Park as Jimmy Wilson and Edima Ufot scored rushing touchdowns and Xavier Keller caught a pass for the Panthers.
Forest Park struck first when Jimmy Wilson scored on a 6-yard TD run with 2:52 remaining in the first quarter.
Columbia bounced back to tie the game on its very next series as Brownlee scored the first of his touchdowns on a 7-yard run.
That was the first of three second-quarter touchdowns between the two region foes.
The Panthers took a 14-7 lead with 2:51 remaining in the first half when Edima Ufot scored on a 2-yard run.
Using a quick-strike offense, Columbia marched 72 yards in a little more than a minute to tie the game at the break as Brownlee scored again on a 15-yard run.
The Eagles seized the momentum just 27 seconds into the second half when quarterback Everick Hall connected with Rhodes on a 33-yard touchdown pass to open the second-half scoring.
Columbia scored its final points of the game in the fourth quarter when James Freeman kicked a 27-yard field goal and Rhodes added his second score of the night on a 3-yard run.
Forest Park didn't get its offense going in the second half until the last series of the game when Michael Oliver started picking up yardage by running the option, and Mike Wilson completed a couple of long passes.
Keller caught a 22-yard pass for the Panthers' final score.