Homecoming king Jon Vivo scored two touchdowns for the first-place Tigers.
By RYAN JONES
NEW MIDDLETOWN -- Although cross-county rival South Range had the early edge Friday, the Springfield High football team celebrated its homecoming with a 33-28 victory.
"This is awesome," said Springfield quarterback Dan Schuler, after he rushed for 91 yards and two scores. He also hit on 6-of-9 passes for 78 more yards and another touchdown.
"It feels really great to finally beat them," Springfield coach John Smith said. "They are a good football team and it was hard fought until the very end."
Back and forth
The Raiders placed the first points on the board, covering 65 yards on their opening drive. Tony Darkadakis capped it off with a 3-yard score.
Springfield answered right back with a 10-play, 68-yard scoring march which featured senior tailback Jon Vivo scoring from 6 yards out.
The Tigers struck again early in the second quarter when Schuler crossed the goal line on a quarterback draw play covering 5 yards.
Following a South Range punt, the Tigers capitalized again when Vivo ran 7 yards for a touchdown.
Vivo, who was crowned homecoming king preceding the game, ran like a king -- totaling 133 yards on 20 carries, scoring twice.
"The past three weeks we have really emphasized the run game," Smith said. "When you have a tough runner like Jon, you have to get him the ball."
Vivo said, "The guys up front did great job opening up holes for me tonight."
Raiders quarterback Ryan Maxwell cut the lead to 21-14 with an electrifying 32-yard jaunt to the end zone before halftime.
Maxwell finished with a strong effort, compiling 121 yards rushing and 166 more through the air.
It looked as if the Raiders had stole the momentum back when they came out and scored on their first possession of the second half with a Darkadakis touchdown run.
But Schuler put Springfield up for good after scoring on a 21-yard scramble, the second of his two rushing touchdowns.
Following an interception of Maxwell by Seth Sarty, Schuler connected with Sarty on a 31 yard touchdown pass, to put Springfield up 33-21.
"I rolled out and saw that my primary receivers were covered, the rush was closing in when I saw Seth, I threw it up and he made a great one-handed grab," Schuler said.
"You couldn't ask for more," Schuler said, "It was homecoming night, the fans were awesome, and our focus was amazing."
Vivo said, " We knew what we had to do tonight -- we wanted to stick it to them and we did."
Next week, Springfield (3-2, 2-0 ICL) faces Mineral Ridge, also undefeated in the league.