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Springfield beats Wissahickon on homecoming 14-6 in a slugfest

Written by: on Saturday, October 2nd, 2021

 

It wasn’t very pretty, but Springfield was able to pull out a victory on homecoming in front of a big home crowd on Friday Night. Thanks to key performances from four players, the Spartans were able to eke out a win. The game was a grind all night for the Spartans, having to fight for every yard on each play and it wasn’t until the opening play of the fourth quarter that Springfield broke the scoreless tie, through a six-yard touchdown run by Quarterback Ben Cooney. 

Cooney, only a couple of plays earlier, went down with a cramp in his left calf, but was able to dig deep and find his way into the endzone. “He’s a warrior, I would want no one else. Wiss has got a good kid, but no offense to him, I’m taking my guy. There’s a lot of good quarterbacks, but there’s no doubt in my mind he’s an all-league player. He takes over games with his mind and with how hard he runs, and he just leads us. I can’t say enough about him.” Springfield Coach Chris Selly explained. Cooney finished the game 11-26 passing for 106 yards to go along with 15 carries for 65 yards.

For the first three quarters, the Spartans were inside the red zone, countless times, but were unable to convert any of the trips into points. In five trips to the red zone in the first three quarters, the Spartans possessions ended in two incompletions, two interceptions and a missed field goal. “We felt like we had our shots to make some plays but give them credit too. I don’t know how many times we were inside the 5 and we felt like in the second half if we could just punch one in, then that would break their back.” Explained Selly. “It was a little bit of frustration, but we knew we couldn’t back down at all because if we backed down then everything would crumble, so we kept our composure.” Junior Wide Dylan McKenzie explained. 

The Trojans did respond with a touchdown of their own, Aidan Defeo found Braheem Thomas,who made an impressive over the shoulder catch for a 43-yard touchdown. But that was the only offense the Trojans could muster, as they struggled to sustain drives thanks to a stingy Springfield defense. Springfield did a great job of keeping the ball away from the Trojans offense, who they knew were explosive coming in after putting up 43 points against New Hope the Week before. Aidan Defeo had thrown for 5 touchdowns in that game and running back Kyle Lehman is always dangerous as well. 

 The Spartans ran the ball effectively, totaling 211 yards for the game. Running the ball helped limit the Trojans to just four possessions in the second half. “We felt like if we wanted to keep their explosive offense off the field, then we had to run the ball in the second half. We did a little more of an inside zone with Gibbons and it felt like if we could stay on Clark and put a body on him, we could get some chunks. It wasn’t pretty, we didn’t get big chunks, but we got enough to move the sticks.

Gibbons had 19 carries for 60 yards, but it was Dylan McKenzie who stole the show for the Spartans. The swiss army knife for Springfield had 19 touches on offense, totaling 136 yards from scrimmage, not to mention a big 60-yard return on the opening kickoff. McKenzie did everything for Springfield, he ran the ball on jet sweeps, caught big passes over the middle and even stepped in at quarterback when he was needed. McKenzie was tough to bring down all night and had some huge conversions for Springfield on third and fourth down. Whenever the Spartans needed a big play, they went to him and no matter how many players Wissahickon tried to put on him, he still found success. “I Don’t think people really know how good this kid is (McKenzie). To me he’s an all-state player as a junior, he is next level and I think people need to start watching him. Wherever we moved him I’m sure Wissahickon was pointing him out.” Explained his coach. “He does it all for us. He actually was banged up this week and we didn’t know if we would have the chance to play him, but he became a dude tonight.” Selly continued.  

Late on in the fourth quarter, facing a third and seven, McKenzie helped deliver once again for Springfield, putting them up 14-6 late in the fourth quarter. He later iced the game with a run on fourth down deep in Trojan territory to put the game away. “It wasn’t easy. We battled all four quarters. Nobody scored until the fourth quarter, but we did what we had to” McKenzie explained. “We never backed down at all. We kept pushing until the end.” He added. 

Springfield suffered their first loss last week against Plymouth Whitemarsh, who’s one of the best teams in 5A, so for Springfield it was all about getting back on track. “It was really a bounce back mentality. We took it on the chin, and we knew we had to clean up the mistakes that we made. I don’t know if that necessarily happened tonight, but we kept fighting and that’s what I’m taking away from tonight. High school kids make mistakes, they must move on and have the next play mentality. That’s what we always preach to our guys. We still have to clean some stuff up, but it’s onward and upward from here.” Selly mentioned.

As a 4A team in a league with mostly 5A and 6A teams it can be tough at times, but Springfield is confident they can beat anyone. They’ll take on New Hope next week. For Wissahickon, they suffer another gut-wrenching loss, but they’ll look to bounce back next week against Lower Moreland for their homecoming game. 

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