The Springfield High School football team had high expectations at the beginning of the season.
Through 11 weeks, the Wildcats have reached a level they’ve only been one other time in program history.
“When you’re building and trying to get somewhere you’ve never been, there’s always a learning curve and going through the process,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said. “The community has really supported us to put our kids into the position we’re in today.”
To reach new heights, the Wildcats (9-2) will face another stiff test this week against top-seeded Hilliard Davidson (10-1) in a D-I, Region 3 semifinal game at 7 p.m. Friday at London High School.
Northmont (10-1) is paired against defending D-I state champ Pickerington Central (9-2) in the other D-I, Region 3 semifinal. The winners will meet in the regional final.
This week, Springfield expects to play another smashmouth game against Davidson. Both teams are strong defensively and primarily run the ball on offense, Douglass said.
Davidson runs a triple-option offense, which the Wildcats have faced six times this season, including back-to-back weeks against Fairmont.
“We’re better suited for it than what we have been in the past,” Douglass said.
Davidson’s Jordan Hicks rushed for 181 yards and four scores, while Kalib O’Connor rushed for 101 yards in the victory against Wayne. Davidson attempted just one pass in the game, a 2-yard completion.
The Wildcats must focus on their assignments and stay disciplined against the triple option, Douglass said.
“It’s about discipline and having eye control,” he said. “If you have the dive man, take the dive man. If you have the pitch man, take the pitch man. You’ve got to trust that your brother is going to take the quarterback if that’s their responsibility. If we can do the things we’ve grown accustomed to, then we should be successful.”
Springfield is led by dual-threat quarterback Raheim Moss, who has pass for 1,176 yards and 10 TDs and rushed for 467 yards and seven scores. Junior running backs Tavion Smoot (863 yards, 4 TDs) and Jeff Tolliver (566 yards, 8 TDs) have carried the load in the Wildcats backfield.
Springfield and Davidson last met in a 2010 regional semifinal game. Davidson won 9-0.
Springfield’s senior class — which includes Division I recruits Moses Douglass (Kentucky), Isaiah Gibson (Kentucky) and receiver Michael Brown-Stephens (Minnesota) — has a chance to go down as one of the best in school history if it can beat Davidson and advance to Week 13 for first time since the schools combined in 2008.
“I’m proud of those guys,” Douglass said. “We always talk about being special, being great. This is just the next step of having a legacy. We ask the kids, ‘What do you want to be known for?’ They’ve already done some special things being 9-2, but going 10-2 would be a lot sweeter.”