It was fitting that Springfield High School starting quarterback Derek Williams wobbled off the Welcome Stadium turf on crutches with his head down and his father by his side.
The Wildcats are hurting and it has nothing to do with a 42-8 beat down delivered by Trotwood-Madison in Friday’s season opening football game.
“I don’t know what it is,” moaned senior QB/linebacker Davonte James, who lost his QB spot in preseason to an injured shoulder, then separated it in the second quarter and likely is lost for a couple weeks.
“When I came out all I could do was cry. I know that’s not the right thing to do, but I hurt. I felt like I let my team down.”
Their ranks already depleted by injuries, the Wildcats were no match for the state-power Rams in the opener of a Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown doubleheader. Thurgood Marshall played Northmont in the nightcap.
Just 1-9 in coach Eric Gillespie’s debut with the Wildcats last season, the Wildcats were upbeat about this second season. But in Trotwood they faced a team that had been to three straight Division II state title games.
An upset was probably too much to ask. A good showing would be something to build on. Losing more key players to injury is potential disaster.
“We had some kids who were playing out of position and to be honest, shouldn’t have been on the field, freshmen and what not,” Gillespie said.
“But eventually, they just wear you down because they’re physical up front, they’re physical runners and they’re tough on defense. Eventually, that all took over.”
To its credit, Springfield isn’t the only team to sputter offensively against Trotwood. Few teams have been able to mount any consistent offense against Trotwood the past three seasons.
Scoreless after the first quarter, the Wildcats wilted under a series of miscues and the Rams’ quick-strike offense. The Wildcats had no chance with freshmen and inexperienced sophomores sprinkled throughout the lineup.
Springfield’s only score came on Justus Banks’ 98-yard fumble return that almost didn’t happen.
“I took it but I started cramping,” he said. “I just ran through the pain.”
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, that probably will have to be their M.O. until the injury bug heals, beginning next Friday at Middletown.