Alumni proud of Springfield’s run to state championship game, hope for one more victory

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Springfield Wildcats football: 2021 highlights

Wildcats take 13-1 record into final game.

The Springfield Wildcats will represent all the great teams and players from the program — plus the former high schools, North and South, that combined into one school in 2008 — when they play in the Division I state championship game Friday.

Alumni will have a close eye on the 7:30 p.m. game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium against Lakewood St. Edward. The News-Sun reached out to graduates this week and asked them two questions. Here’s what they had to say.

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Dayton players and coach Rick Chamberlin smile after a victory against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Welcome Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Dayton players and coach Rick Chamberlin smile after a victory against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Welcome Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff
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Dayton players and coach Rick Chamberlin smile after a victory against Eastern Illinois on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at Welcome Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

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Ohio State wide receiver Dee Miller reacts after catching a pass and scoring a touchdown on Nov. 21, 1998. Skip Peterson/Staff

Credit: SKIP PETERSON

Ohio State wide receiver Dee Miller reacts after catching a pass and scoring a touchdown on Nov. 21, 1998. Skip Peterson/Staff
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Ohio State wide receiver Dee Miller reacts after catching a pass and scoring a touchdown on Nov. 21, 1998. Skip Peterson/Staff

Credit: SKIP PETERSON

Credit: SKIP PETERSON

1. What would it mean to you to see Springfield win a state championship?

Rick Chamberlin, 1975 North graduate who has been the head coach of the Dayton Flyers since 2008: “It brings a lot of pride to the city of Springfield because it’s not North and South anymore; it is Springfield High. That means all these players and coaches, it’s a total city effort. I think the whole city ought to be proud. I can speak for myself. I’m very proud of all the hard work that Mo and his team has put in over the last few years, not just this year. They’ve been taken steps and you could see it. This would be a culmination of all that hard work.”

Dee Miller, 1994 South graduate who played wide receiver at Ohio State from 1995-98: “It would mean the world to me. As an alumni, it feels so great for our city/school to receive all of this recognition. Our city needs this this. Never felt united.”

Nate Miller, 2005 South graduate who played basketball at Bowling Green (2006-09): “It would mean the world to me! I have bled blue and gold my whole life! We have knocked on the door several times, and this team has topped them all. I am so proud of these boys they and the brotherhood and what it means to be a Wildcat! Let’s seal the deal!”

Michael Cooper, 2008 South graduate who played football and basketball at Wittenberg (2008-12): “For me, seeing Springfield win a state title would be the beginning of a change in how Springfield athletics are viewed. We aren’t just a bunch of undisciplined athletes. With the right coaching and a commitment to sports from the district, our teams are just as capable of accomplishing big things as any other program.”

Thaddeus Snodgrass, a 2014 Springfield graduate who played football at Wittenberg from 2017-20: “It would mean the world to me! To see these young fellas go out there and compete at a high level is amazing. Since Coach Mo has came in, he’s brought a dog mentality in! For them to win a state title gives the city hope and shows them just like the one’s that stayed before them, yo don’t have to leave Springfield to excel or succeed in sports because we can do it all here.”

Explore» MORE COVERAGE: The path to the state championship game

Kawambee Moss, 2015 Springfield graduate who played baseball at Bethel University: “Man, it would mean everything. Putting on that blue and gold on Friday nights is something that is indescribable. Springfield Wildcat sports give people hope. I am very proud of these group of guys. I’m with them every step of the way and can’t wait to see them achieve this amazing accomplishment.”

Danny Davis, a 2017 Springfield graduate who’s in his fifth season as a wide receiver at Wisconsin: “It would mean the world to me if they (won) state, and I’m so proud of them! This team has put on a show week after week, and it’s definitely been fun to watch. I know the city is all behind them and we’re ready for them to go finish what they started!

Isaiah Gibson, 2019 Springfield graduate, now a sophomore defensive end at Kentucky: “It would mean the world to Springfield. Our city goes through so much, and our program used to be looked over every Friday. We changed the culture, and they took it to another level. It would be amazing for these boys and show the young guys anything is possible with hard work.”

Moses Douglass, 2019 Springfield graduate, now a sophomore defensive back at Kentucky, and the son of Springfield head coach Maurice Douglass: “I’d be extremely proud of my father for another milestone broken. He’d be the first black head coach to win a DI state title. That’s huge!”

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Springfield’s Danny Davis makes a 39-yard catch against Dublin Coffman on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, at Edwards-Maurer Field in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff

Springfield’s Danny Davis makes a 39-yard catch against Dublin Coffman on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, at Edwards-Maurer Field in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff
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Springfield’s Danny Davis makes a 39-yard catch against Dublin Coffman on Saturday, Aug. 27, 2016, at Edwards-Maurer Field in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff

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December 9, 2004 News-Sun/Teesha McClam SLUG:snsNateMillerA120904tm.JPG South’s Nate Miller goes for slam dunk during practice at South High School.

December 9, 2004 News-Sun/Teesha McClam SLUG:snsNateMillerA120904tm.JPG South’s Nate Miller goes for slam dunk during practice at South High School.
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December 9, 2004 News-Sun/Teesha McClam SLUG:snsNateMillerA120904tm.JPG South’s Nate Miller goes for slam dunk during practice at South High School.

2. If you could give a pep talk to the team this week, what would you say?

Chamberlin: “First of all, I would tell them how proud we are, growing up in Springfield and being a graduate from the high school there. But I would also just tell them, ‘Hey, you don’t have to do anything different. You don’t have to do anything special just because it’s a state game. Just keep doing what you have been.’ They’ve already beaten some very good teams from the state of Ohio. So this is no different. It’s just a different name for the opponent. They’re good enough to win a state. They proven that. Now they just have to go out and do it.”

Dee Miller: “My pep talk would be about our football history, how it used to be two high schools. I would discuss how this team has planted seeds for the future and what it means to be great. Take full advantage of the opportunity now because it may not be here next year.”

Nate Miller: “Guys, the hard part is done. We made it this far. It’s one game. Win or go home! One game. Everything you got. Us vs. them! You may never get an opportunity like this again. Live in the moment. Be disciplined but play like you’re on fire! We need to take it to another level and become the 2021 state champion.”

Cooper: “Just go out and play football. Don’t make it harder than it is. Focus on winning your assignment, every single play, whether you’re on offense, defense, or special teams. If we win our assignments more than they win theirs, I like our chances.”

Snodgrass: “I would tell them that this is what it’s all about. This is why you put in the work in the offseason. Going to 7-on-7s, grinding two a days out with your brothers. This is the time to leave it all on the line! You are your brothers keepers. It’s all on us every snap. It begins and ends with us! It’s already written, so let’s go make history!”

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Moss: “I would just tell them stay TOGETHER through adversity when it hits in the game. I understand them, and I understand they can’t make every play. You will make mistakes. But what will you do when things don’t go your way? Turn on the guy next to you or pick him up and go to battle with your brothers? I love you boys. I’m with you. the city is with you every step of the way. Let’s bring a title to Springfield, Ohio.

Davis: “I would tell them just be themselves and to lean on each other. They know how much hard work it takes to get to this point. Use that as fuel and play for your brothers! No speech could top the motivation and strength they already have inside of them. They know they what to do! Cat pride!”

Gibson: “I would tell them it’s all business, and you got this far as a team. Play as a team and no selfish penalties. Execution and sacrifice throughout the week.”

Douglass: “It’s an opportunity to make some serious bread tonight! Do this for the city. Get your names written in the history books!”

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Michael Cooper of Wittenberg runs for a touchdown during an NCAA Division III first-round playoff game against the College of Mount St. Joseph at Edwards-Maurer field on Nov. 21, 2009. Wittenberg won the game 42-14. Staff photo by Barbara J. Perenic

Michael Cooper of Wittenberg runs for a touchdown during an NCAA Division III first-round playoff game against the College of Mount St. Joseph at Edwards-Maurer field on Nov. 21, 2009. Wittenberg won the game 42-14. Staff photo by Barbara J. Perenic
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Michael Cooper of Wittenberg runs for a touchdown during an NCAA Division III first-round playoff game against the College of Mount St. Joseph at Edwards-Maurer field on Nov. 21, 2009. Wittenberg won the game 42-14. Staff photo by Barbara J. Perenic

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Springfield High School graduate Kawambee Moss (1) is one of two Springfield natives are pursuing their dreams this summer as part of a collegiate summer baseball team s record-breaking season. Moss and Shawnee High School graduate Lukas Moore are both members of the Kalamazoo Growlers, a member of the 20-team Northwoods League.

Springfield High School graduate Kawambee Moss (1) is one of two Springfield natives are pursuing their dreams this summer as part of a collegiate summer baseball team s record-breaking season. Moss and Shawnee High School graduate Lukas Moore are both members of the Kalamazoo Growlers, a member of the 20-team Northwoods League.
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Springfield High School graduate Kawambee Moss (1) is one of two Springfield natives are pursuing their dreams this summer as part of a collegiate summer baseball team s record-breaking season. Moss and Shawnee High School graduate Lukas Moore are both members of the Kalamazoo Growlers, a member of the 20-team Northwoods League.

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Springfield’s Moses Douglass celebrates a victory over Wayne on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at Evans Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff

Springfield’s Moses Douglass celebrates a victory over Wayne on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at Evans Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff
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Springfield’s Moses Douglass celebrates a victory over Wayne on Friday, Oct. 19, 2018, at Evans Stadium. David Jablonski/Staff

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