High School Football: Springfield survives first-round scare

Springfield High School senior Robert Jordan gathers the ball after catching a pass during the Wildcats 27-17 victory over Toledo Whitmer in a Division I, Region 2 playoff game on Friday, Oct. 9. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY MICHAEL COOPER

Wildcats rally to beat Toledo Whitmer 27-17

SPRINGFIELD — After his team’s 27-17 come-from-behind victory over Toledo Whitmer High School on Friday night, Springfield football coach Mo Douglass had a clear message for his team — the Wildcats still have plenty to prove.

Whitmer led 14-7 at the half, but third-seeded Springfield outscored the No. 14-seeded Panthers 20-3 in the second half to earn a Division I, Region II playoff victory.

“You can’t come out here without intensity and focus,” Douglass said. “You’ve got to be focused every single play. You’ve got to come out and play with passion. We didn’t do that in the first half. But that’s why they play 48 (minutes), 24 each half. We did a better job in the second half. We were more focused and got our offense in the ball. We gave them an opportunity to make plays.”

Springfield junior Te’Sean Smoot and sophomore Tyron Barnes each had two rushing TDs as the Wildcats improved to 6-1 overall. They’ll face Greater Western Ohio Conference rival and No. 6 seed Wayne in a regional quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Friday in Springfield. The Warriors beat Centerville 20-10 in Huber Heights.

“We’ve got to focus on one play at a time and do our jobs,” Douglass said. “We’re on to the next one, so we’re happy about that.”

Whitmer drove nearly three hours to Springfield for the first round playoff game and they weren’t going to leave Clark County without a fight. The Panthers recovered two onside kicks in the first half to take a 14-7 lead into the locker room. They used a ball control offense, holding Springfield’s offense to just one possession of 3 minutes and 30 seconds in the first half.

“They had a great game plan,” Douglass said. “They did a lot of good things. We’re just happy to be moving on.”

Smoot scored on a 9-yard run in the third quarter to tie the score at 14. After a field goal by the Panthers, Smoot scored on a 21-yard run to give Springfield the lead for good.

Barnes added a 7-yard TD run in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

The Panthers outgained the Wildcats 269-251 and had four drives of 10 or more plays. Springfield’s big play offense was the difference, averaging 11.14 per play.

“Our guys were resilient,” Douglass said. “They did a good job and didn’t fold. God is good and he gave us another week.”

He hopes the close call will serve as a wake-up call to his young team. The Wildcats are a different group than the one who advanced to the state semifinals last season.

“We’ve got a lot of kids that weren’t here last year,” Douglass said. “This group is a totally different group that’s making this run and they’ve got to play like that.”

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