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ICL-TCL FOOTBALL Columbiana surprises Springfield, 17-9



Published: Sun, September 1, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Clippers won for the second straight week, while the Tigers fell to 0-2.

By TOM WILLIAMS

VINDICATOR SPORTS STAFF

COLUMBIANA -- No one was surprised when the Springfield High football team lost to Poland in last week's season opener.

But plenty of Inter-County League coaches, players and fans are scratching their heads today after the Tigers, one of the favorites to win the ICL, suffered another loss Saturday to the Columbiana Clippers, 17-9.

"We just made too many mistakes," Springfield coach John Smith said. "We didn't capitalize on the opportunities we created."

Option quarterback Adam Fast, a junior making his second varsity start, lived up to his name for the Clippers, rushing for 164 yards on 17 carries.

"It was all the line," Fast said, deferring credit for his big night. "This is a good rivalry, but it seems like they have our number every year."

Classmate fullback Chris Harman picked up 102 yards on 12 carries as the Clippers' ground game amassed 353 yards on 54 tries.

"We missed a lot of tackles," Smith said of his defense. "We had a lot of opportunities to [limit] them to some short gains, but give their kids credit -- they broke a lot of tackles and made some [big] plays."

Coach lauds Clippers

Columbiana coach Bob Spaite, whose Clippers are 2-0 and should contend for the Tri-County League title, said his squad "played pretty well tonight against a very good football team. In fact, that's about as well as we can play."

After the Clippers opened up a 10-3 half-time lead, the Tigers appeared poised for a comeback. Springfield began the second half by marching 72 yards on five plays and a penalty.

The big play of the drive came when Tigers quarterback Dan Schuler's tossed a screen pass to tailback Jon Vivo, who scrambled for 29 yards.

Following a pass interference call, Schuler hit Vivo for an 11-yard touchdown and a 10-9 score.

The Tigers' failure to connect on the extra-point kick proved ominous. The Clippers responded with a 75-yard scoring drive triggered by a Fast scramble that gained 51 yards.

H-back John Tollas rambled in from the 5 to give Columbiana an eight-point margin. Tollas also scored Columbiana's first touchdown on a 2-yard run in the second quarter.

Springfield went three-and-out in its next three second-half possessions before the Tigers threw a final scare at Columbiana.

Blocked field goal

Late in the fourth quarter, the Tigers blocked Eric Bernesser's 29-yard field-goal attempt to set up a last chance.

Three Schuler completions, a scramble and another pass interference penalty gave the Tigers three shots from the Columbiana 30 in the final 16 seconds. On the second pass, Clippers safety Tye Crider preserved the win for Columbiana when he jarred the ball from wide out Seth Sarty's grasp for an incompletion inside the Columbiana 5.

"We haven't had a safety hit like that in a long time," Spaite said.

Schuler completed 12 of 26 passes for 167 yards. Sarty caught six of them for 112 yards.

The Clippers limited the Tigers to 76 yards on the ground.

williams@vindy.com




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