Sophomore Te’Sean Smoot is just seven games into his varsity career as the starting quarterback at Springfield High School. That’s long enough for him to envision of path of destiny for the Wildcats.
“This is a team that can go 15 weeks,” he gushed following an impressive 23-0 shutdown of previously unbeaten and host Springboro on Friday night. “I believe that with my whole heart.”
That would place Springfield in a Division I state championship game, something no other Wildcats team – North or South - has done. It’s too soon to reserve rooms at Canton, but at least through Week 7, Springfield is on its way to making program history.
»»PHOTOS: Springfield at Springboro, Week 7 football
This was a matchup of the area’s two best Greater Western Ohio Conference teams, and it was no contest.
It also boosted Springfield (6-1) to No. 3 in the D-I, Region 2 playoff field. Springboro (6-1) dropped to No. 5.
“This is the best team we’ve had at Springfield,” assured Wildcats coach Maurice Douglass. “I’ve had a couple of other (Trotwood-Madison) teams that could roll with this, too. It was exactly what we thought it would be. We talked about being physical. Everybody’s got a plan, just like Mike Tyson, until they get punched in the mouth.”
»»RELATED: West Carrollton recovering
Smoot dashed three yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter and added a 10-yard TD strike to Jalen Minney to complete the scoring late in the third quarter.
Cole Yost converted a 34-yard field goal less than three minutes into the game, set up by a long completion to Larry Stephens. Jeff Tolliver also scored on a 21-yard in the third quarter.
»»RELATED: Week 7 football power rankings
Springboro had no answer for Smoot, who completed 15 passes for a career-high 283 yards. Much of that passing presence went to Stephens, the University of Toledo commit who had seven catches for 139 yards. Tavion Smoot and Tolliver combined for 111 yards rushing.
Those offensive fireworks were complemented by a dominant defense that produced five turnovers. Vincent Fisher and Bryce Walker each had fumble recoveries. Delian Bradley, Tayden Harper and Kendric Holt had interceptions. Springboro, which hadn’t scored less than 27 points and had topped 42 three times, had an offensive meltdown.
»»RELATED: Flyin’ loaded with “5-star hearts”
“Defensively, we saw a physical football team on film,” Panthers coach Ryan Wilhite said. “They certainly lived up to that billing. Offensively, we’re really disappointed in ourselves as players and coaches.”
Springboro’s QB tandem of Landon Palmer and Mikey Appel combined for just nine completions and 76 yards passing. Moise Armbruster, second in GWOC rushing, suffered a severe shoulder injury on his second carry and didn’t return to the game.
»»RELATED: Badin on new streak after KO of Alter
It was the fifth straight win for the Wildcats following a 16-12 Week 2 setback to unbeaten Fairfield (7-0), the No. 1 team in D-I, Region 4 that clinched a playoff spot on Friday.
Springfield and Springboro could play again in the D-I, Region 2 playoffs. Springfield, bidding for a GWOC American Division title, closes with a visiting from Centerville (4-3), at Wayne (2-5) and hosts Trotwood (6-1) in the regular-season finale. Springboro, in the GWOC National, hosts Lebanon, then Trotwood and finishes at Centerville in Weeks 8-10.
»»RELATED: Premier Health Flyin’ to the Hoop schedule
Both Springfield and Springboro could likely afford one more loss and still advance to the postseason. The top eight teams in the final computer rankings qualify. Should that happen, destiny awaits.
“Coach said, everybody has a plan until they get hit in the mouth,” Smoot said. “We did what we had to do. We needed the points for the playoffs.”
»»RELATED: Week 7 state football polls
»»PHOTOS: Alter at Badin, Week 6 football