High School Football: Prep Football: Springfield searched far and wide for Week 3 opponent

Springfield players kneel around coach Maurice Douglass after a victory against Saint Ignatius on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at Springfield High School. David Jablonski/Staff
Caption
Springfield players kneel around coach Maurice Douglass after a victory against Saint Ignatius on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021, at Springfield High School. David Jablonski/Staff

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

SPRINGFIELD — After last week’s game was canceled a day before kickoff, the Springfield High School football team was eager for its Week 3 matchup against rival Trotwood-Madison.

On Monday, the Wildcats found out their game against the Rams was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols within Trotwood’s program — leaving Springfield without an opponent for the second straight week.

That’s when the mad dash to find an opponent began, said Springfield Athletic Director Mike Dellapina.

“Literally every school in Ohio who needed a game this week, I reached out to them,” Dellapina said.

Even Wildcats coach Maurice Douglass made some phone calls.

“We talked to everybody,” he said. “It’s so crazy. I called at least 15 teams myself in the last two days.”

Dellapina reached out to several teams that had open dates in Week 3, including Princeton, Dublin Coffman and Alter. He even called several schools out of state, including programs in Kentucky, Michigan and Pennsylvania, he said.

After working the phones for two days, the Wildcats finally found an opponent in Lima Senior, who had also called Princeton looking for a game after being cleared to play this week.

The Wildcats will travel to Lima to face the Spartans at 7 p.m. Saturday.

“It all fell into place,” Dellapina said.

Division I non-conference scheduling has been tough in recent years, Dellapina said. It becomes even more difficult as schools aren’t typically looking to play programs of Springfield’s caliber when replacing games that are canceled due to COVID-19. The Wildcats have advanced to the D-I state semifinals each of the last two seasons.

“On the one hand, it’s very flattering,” Dellapina said, “but on the other hand, it’s extremely frustrating because ultimately, we’re still talking about high school kids. 11 kids against 11 kids. You line up and play and that’s why the games get played to get settled on the field. To not get the opportunity because somebody thinks you’re too good, that can be a little frustrating.”

The Wildcats didn’t want to miss two straight weeks, but also wanted to get a game in due to the uncertain nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dellapina said. The Ohio High School Athletic Association recently changed its football regulations to allow programs who play five regular season football games to be eligible to qualify for the postseason.

“People are losing games at the 12th hour,” he said. “We lost our game against Fairfield at noon on Thursday. That made it extremely tough and didn’t provide much turnaround time to do anything. With that being said, you don’t know what’s going to happen down the road.”

The Wildcats were simply looking to get back on the field, Douglass said. They’ll face a Lima Senior squad who went 1-5 last season and won a total of six games the last three seasons. Its last winning season came in 2016 when it was 6-4. Springfield won the last matchup between the two schools 19-17 in 2017.

The Spartans beat Toledo Bowsher 60-0 in Week 1, but COVID-19 problems forced Lima Senior to cancel its Week 2 game against Toledo Rogers and its originally scheduled Week 3 game against Mansfield Senior.

“They’ve always had good athletes,” Douglass said. “They’ve always been one of those teams that can make plays on the perimeter. They haven’t always been big instead as far as interior lineman are concerned. They’ve always had skill kids and that’s something you know you have to go out and prepare for.”

The loss of last week’s game caught his team off guard, Douglass said. This week, the Wildcats waited 48 hours before finding out who they’d play in Week 3.

“You’ve just got to be thankful,” Douglass said. “It’s a blessing every time you get to play this game.”

Friday’s games

Bellbrook (1-1) at Tecumseh (2-0): The Arrows wracked up 458 rushing yards in their Week 2 victory over Carroll. Tecumseh hasn’t beaten the Eagles since 2015, dropping four straight games.

West Liberty-Salem (0-2) at Catholic Central (2-0): The Irish are seeking their first victory against the Tigers since 2010. Irish senior wide receiver Ashton Young ranks first in the Ohio Heritage Conference in receiving yards with 228, while sophomore QB Ty Myers, Jr. ranks second in the OHC in passing yards (441).

West Jefferson (2-0) at Greenon (1-1): Knights senior Trevor Stewart is averaging 115.5 yards per game for Greenon this fall. Roughriders QB Tyler Buescher leads the OHC with 697 passing yards.

Benjamin Logan (2-0) at Kenton Ridge (1-1): The Cougars bounced back in Week 2 with a 47-25 victory over Bethel. Kenton Ridge junior Gavin Higgins ran for 128 yards and a TD and senior Lane Roberts rushed for 114 yards and two TDs in the victory.

Greeneview (1-1) at Northeastern (1-1): Jets junior quarterback Cade Houseman has gained 505 yards from scrimmage in their first two games this season. The Rams won the last matchup between the two schools 35-0 in 2018.

Northwestern (0-2) at Miami East (0-2): The Warriors and Vikings will play for the first time since Miami East was a member of the CBC Mad River Division in 2005.

Shawnee (0-2) at Dayton Carroll (1-1): The game was originally scheduled to be played in Springfield, but the game was moved due to field damage at Shawnee’s football stadium. The field is being treated and the Braves are expected to host Northwestern on Sept. 17.

Johnstown-Monroe (0-2) at Graham (2-0): Falcons senior running back Zack Vanscoy ranks second in the CBC with 319 yards.

Triad (1-1) at Cedarville (0-2): The Cardinals beat the Indians 41-13 last season.

Madison Plains (1-1) at Mechanicsburg (2-0): The Indians beat the Golden Eagles 41-0 in their last matchup in 2018.

Bellefontaine (2-0) at Urbana (0-2): The Hillclimbers are seeking their first win against the Chieftains since 2015.

Saturday’s Game

Springfield (1-0) at Lima Senior (1-0): The Wildcats beat the Spartans 35-28 in their last trip to Lima in 2016.

Canceled

Southeastern (1-1) at Fairbanks (1-1): The game was canceled due to COVID-19 protocols. Fairbanks will now play Philo, while the Trojans are scheduled to host Mechanicsburg in Week 4.