Springfield captures third-straight regional championship with 43-27 win over Mogadore
SALEM — The Springfield Tigers keep completing the trifecta.
Two weeks ago, they beat Western Reserve for the third straight time in the playoffs.
Tonight at Sebo Stadium, it was Mogadore for the third straight year.
Behind another spectacular Beau Brungard performance, they captured the Division VI, Region 21 Championship, 43-27, for the third straight year.
Brungard finished with 252 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
“First and foremost, I just want to thank God for just letting our team be healthy and letting our team be in this situation for the third year in a row,” Brungard said. “With Mogadore, they have a great team every single year. It just lines up the way that we play them every single year in the playoffs.
“Every year, we just know what they’re gonna run. It’s gonna be a physical game. They’re gonna get downhill and run the football. We knew that coming in, and I think we were really well prepared. Our guys just had a great mindset.”
The Tigers (13-1) started off the game fast with Brungard’s 55-yard touchdown run giving them a 7-0 lead less than two minutes into the game.
Mogadore (10-4) got hit with a 10 yard holding penalty that derailed its opening possession before going three-and-out.
On its next possession, Springfield moved it 75 yards in a little less than six minutes with Bo Snyder’s four yard run pushing the lead to 14-0 with 1:57 left in the first quarter.
Down by two touchdowns and the game looking to get out of control, the Wildcats moved tight end Mason Williams back into the backfield fresh off his six touchdown performance a week ago against LaBrae.
It was more of the same as Mogadore held the ball for the next 8:48.
The Wildcats ran 17 plays, moved it 83 yards, converting two fourth downs with Williams finishing off the drive with a one yard touchdown to make it 14-7 with 5:07 left in the first half.
Springfield seemed poised to score again starting at their own 43.
After an 11 yard pass from Brungard to Jakob Joyce moved the ball to the Mogadore 42, Brungard fumbled on the next play giving the Wildcats the ball at their own 42.
Mogadore cashed in on the turnover with another one yard run from Williams with a minute left in the half to tie it up at 14 all.
At this point, the Tigers had only possessed the ball for 1:13 in the second quarter.
“We definitely knew they’re a good team and that we’re gonna have to face some adversity going into this,” Brungard said. “Our guys handled it great. We never really got down on ourselves. We just moved on to the next play after they tied it up 14-14.”
With all the momentum swinging in the way of the Wildcats, Springfield’s Nick Slike caught the ball at his own 24 on the ensuing kickoff and returned it 76 yards to give the Tigers the lead back, 21-14 at the half.
“That was a big question mark going into the beginning of the season, our special teams, because we got some young kids and they have developed over time,” Springfield coach Sean Guerriero said. “Nick had a nice catch. He hit that sucker with speed. We always talk about getting a hat on a hat. I think our kids did a great job for him just to be able to hit a seam and for us. That was the first one we took to the house. What a time to do that.”
Mogadore ran 31 plays in the first half for 172 yards of offense as they kept Brungard off the field for most of the second quarter to get back into the game.
Springfield ran just 20 plays but put up 165 yard of offense.
The Wildcats punted on their opening possession of the second half.
Six plays later, Springfield pushed their lead back out to two possessions after a one yard run by Brungard midway through the third quarter, 28-14.
“Coach Adorni does a great job,” Guerriero said. “That’s not a program that’s going to fold. They’re going to fight for four quarters. For our kids to be able to take a few punches and still fight through the adversity, I just think shows the character of our kids and the development of them.”
Springfield forced a three-and-out to force a Mogadore punt.
Though, on the punt, Springfield’s Seandelle Gardner muffed the punt and Mogadore recovered at their own 46.
Again, they cashed in on the Springfield turnover to make it 28-20 with 1:21 left in the third quarter.
“We definitely made some mistakes in the first half and then early in the second half, but we stuck with it,” Brungard said. “We didn’t get down on ourselves. We just kept going.”
They did, scoring four plays later on Brungard’s 29 yard run to make it 36-20 with 11:51 left in the game.
“I give a lot of credit to my staff,” Guerriero said. “We were able to make a couple adjustments at halftime, I think we ended up putting our kids in some good situations. We talked about staying lower. I think we were a little bit high up front. In games like this, they’re all good teams. We got to make sure that we’re going to battle for 48 minutes and come in at halftime. We just kind of settled them down, buckled down, made a few adjustments.”
After another three-and-out, the Tigers put in the final dagger with Brungard’s 57 yard run making it 43-20 with 10:30 left.
“I certainly have to give all the credit to my offensive line,” Brungard added. “Those guys in front of me for the past three years, they have been everything for me you know. I make it look easy, but it’s all them just opening up the holes and some of the holes I get to run through are just huge. I see it and just hit it hard.”
The Tigers will play Carey next Saturday as they look to return to the Division VI State Championship game for the third straight year.
I said this on Monday with our kids,” Guerriero said. “I congratulated them because it’s really them. Even our seniors from the past; they have done a great job with our program and making sure in the offseason they’re lifting and doing those little things right. We talked a little bit about the brotherhood. The kids love each other and that’s who they’re playing for. It’s just been a great ride right now and we just want to be able to make sure we keep this thing rolling as far as we can go.”