High School Football: Springfield passing game heating up

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield High School football team’s passing attack is firing on all cylinders.

Senior quarterback Bryce Schondelmyer threw for 492 yards in last week’s 54-14 victory over Springboro last week — the most passing yards in a single game since North and South combined in 2009. Schondelmyer completed 22-for-30 passes and threw five TDs in the game. He needed eight more yards to place his name on the OHSAA’s unofficial state record book.

“I missed on one or two throws that would’ve gotten me to 500, so I’m kind of mad about that,” he said, “but we got the big win and that’s all that matters.”

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Through six games, the Wildcats are averaging a Greater Western Ohio Conference-best 317.3 passing yards per game. They’re led by a loaded wide receiver group, including four players with Division I offers in senior Anthony Brown (University of Kentucky commit), senior Shawn Thigpen (Bowling Green commit), senior Daylen Bradley (Purdue, UMass offers) and junior Da’Shawn Martin (Kentucky offer).

“It’s fun being in this offense,” Daylen Bradley said. “We’re really explosive. It’s special.”

Bradley has 41 catches for 604 yards and eight TDs, while Brown has caught 29 passes for 513 yards and seven TDs. Martin has 15 receptions for 274 yards and two TDs and Thigpen has 12 catches for 230 yards and four TDs.

Springfield junior running back Jayvin Norman (seven catches, 88 yards) and junior wide receiver Duncan Bradley III (seven catches, 107 yards) have also played a key role in the passing game.

“It’s awesome,” said Schondelmyer, who also has offers from Dayton, Valparaiso, Tiffin and Ashland. “It’s a blessing. When you’re reading the field, you’ve got dudes out there everywhere, so I’m just doing my job trying to get them the ball and let them do their thing.”

The wealth of talent on the field helps keep the defense from focusing on one player, Brown said.

“We’ve got other receivers who are playmakers and it opens our offense up for sure,” he said.

It took a few weeks for the offense to jell with a new quarterback and new offensive line, said Springfield coach Maurice Douglass, but they’re starting to put it together. The wide receivers also benefit from practicing against the Wildcats defense, which also features several D-I prospects.

“With us doing what we do in practice as far as the competitiveness, I think our defensive backs and linebackers do a good job of challenging those guys,” Douglass said. “That’s what we tell our guys: If we practice the way we practice each and every day, on Friday nights it’s going to be the easy part. You’re seeing those things come to fruition the last three to four weeks now.”

The offensive line didn’t allow a sack in last week’s victory against Springboro and the team rushed for a season-high 123 yards.

“If we can establish the run, it’s going to open up the passing game even more,” Schondelmyer said.

The 5-1 Wildcats, who are ranked fifth in this week’s Associated Press state poll, face another tough task on Friday when they travel to fourth-ranked Centerville in a key GWOC game. Four teams — Springfield, Centerville, Wayne and Springboro — are tied atop the GWOC standings at 3-1 with three games remaining. Springfield is seeking its fifth straight victory against the rival Elks.

“It’s another big game in the GWOC like they all are,” Douglass said. “It’s tough this year. Everybody has improved so there’s a lot more competitive balance. We’ll be ready for it on Friday night.”

Week 8 Schedule

Springfield at Centerville

Shawnee at Tecumseh

Greenon at Catholic Central

Northeastern at West Liberty-Salem

Madison Plains at Southeastern

North Union at Graham

London at Kenton Ridge

Indian Lake at Northwestern

Benjamin Logan at Urbana

Fairbanks at Mechanicsburg

Cedarville at Greeneview

West Jefferson at Triad

(All games scheduled for 7 p.m.)

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