Sizzling Springfield too much for Columbiana
By Eric Fortune
There was a point in Springfield’s 41-7 victory over Columbiana on Friday where momentum changed.
The Clippers had cut the deficit to seven points after a 78-yard reception by Chase Franken from Jakob Cross.
Springfield fumbled on the Columbiana 25. Five plays later, a Steven Anderson run at midfield that looked poised to get the Clippers deep in Springfield territory instead resulted in a fumble.
The Tigers turned what looked to be a tie game into a 21-7 advantage six plays later.
Columbiana was turned away on their ensuing drive when Cross’ pass was intercepted by Evan Ohlin in the end zone on a first-and-goal from the 4.
Springfield (3-0) rolled from there at Firestone Park.
“We left 14 points on the field in the first half,” Columbiana coach Bob Spaite said. “It should have been a 21-21 game. It was nobody but us. It just snowballed on us.”
Springfield’s success started with their run game in the tune of 287 yards on the ground which opened up the passing game for Brannon Brungard.
“I always think it’s going to start with our run game,” Springfield coach Sean Guerriero said. “If we can get our lineman up front and Luke [Snyder] getting downhill, I think we’re going to be successful.
“I was happy we were able to establish the run which opened up the passing game. People have to come up on us and it’s hard to defend us.”
Snyder finished with a game-high 135 yards on the ground with two touchdowns.
Brungard was responsible for three touchdowns — one on the ground and two through the air.
“They are a very aggressive defense,” Brungard said. “They are very solid. I think just like [against] South Range, we played that to our advantage.
“They want to come up and blitz a lot and play man. We did a good job of finding the holes. We just called plays that helped us. We were able to exploit their aggressiveness.”
The Tigers offense scored on three of their first four possessions.
“We blocked them well,” Brungard said. “They are very solid up front. We had some good blocking schemes on them. We just got the job done. It just flowed.”
The Clippers (0-3) struggled with consistency in the first half with two punts, an interception in the end zone, and a fumble sandwiched between the Franken touchdown reception.
“We wanted to try and run the football,” Guerriero said. “We wanted to keep their offense off the field. Just like when they scored, it takes them one play to score.
“I felt if we could stop the big play, we would end up winning. I just didn’t expect that. Bob does a great job with his kids. They always play hard and are always prepared.”
Columbiana was held to 49 yards of offense in the second half and finished with 220 total yards with Cross finished with 165 yards passing.
“They did a nice job,” Spaite said. “We knew they were a good team. They did exactly what we thought. There were no surprises. We can’t do what we did and expect to win. It’s just not going to happen.”