High School Football: Springfield Wildcats reach new heights in 12th season

Springfield closes regular season at home vs. Trotwood-Madison

Coach Maurice Douglass sent a message to his Springfield Wildcats football team after it nearly blew a 27-0 lead against Centerville in Week 8, telling them during a postgame interview they would have to practice the next day at 10 a.m.

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Even though Springfield held on to win 41-28, the effort wasn't good enough for a coach who has higher goals for his program.

“You can’t just take things for granted,” Douglass said. “We kind of got in the Cadillac, and they made a game of it.”

By the following Wednesday, the coach's mood had improved. The Wildcats had a great week of practice, one of their best of the season, Douglass said, and the result was a 38-13 victory at Wayne in Week 9.

“They got the message,” Douglass said.

This Springfield team, which takes a seven-game winning streak into its regular-season finale against Trotwood-Madison on Friday in Springfield, has blazed new ground for the program. The Wildcats (8-1,4-0) clinched the Greater Western Ohio Conference American Division championship last week. It’s the first outright GWOC division title for Springfield since the new high school opened in 2008.

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When Douglass took the Springfield job in 2014, he said he would "restore the roar," and he has lived up to that promise. The Wildcats will return to the playoffs next week for the second year in a row and the third time in four years, and a victory this week would give Springfield its first nine-win regular season.

This is the 12th season since the merger of North and South. Here’s a look back at the top players, performances and teams from 2008-19.

Most valuable player: It will be hard to top the impact Trey DePriest had in his high school career. Before going to Alabama, where he had 232 tackles in four seasons and played for two national championship teams, he did it all for the Wildcats. He played linebacker. He ran the ball. He punted. He also helped lead Springfield to back-to-back playoff appearances in 2009 and 2010.

Best career by an offensive player: Danny Davis, now a junior at Wisconsin and the team's third-leading receiver, caught 21 touchdown passes for Springfield in his final three seasons and also scored 32 rushing touchdowns.

Best performance by a quarterback: No one has had a better year under center than the current quarterback: sophomore Te'Sean Smoot, who has completed 85 of 149 passes for 1,777 yards with 14 touchdowns and three interceptions.

Best performance by a running back: Senior Jeff Tolliver is gaining a whopping 12.1 yards per carry this fall. He has 1,003 yards, one short of the GWOC lead, on 83 carries with 15 touchdowns. No one else among the GWOC leaders is averaging more than 7.3 yards per carry.

Best performance by a defensive player: Linebacker Cameron Hoelscher, who's now a freshman at Army after spending a year at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, recorded 111 tackles as a senior in 2017.

Most important victory: Springfield beat Wayne 33-26 in overtime at Evans Stadium in 2018, ending a seven-game losing streak in the series. The victory clinched a playoff berth.

Biggest play: George Walker's 92-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter broke a 21-21 tie with Wayne and led to a 28-21 victory in 2010. Walker then intercepted Wayne quarterback Braxton Miller in the end zone with 6 seconds remaining to preserve the victory.

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“This one is big because of two reasons,” then Springfield head coach Rick Robertson said. “One, it’s one of the last schools we haven’t beaten yet. Two, I’m getting tired of hearing about all the ex-Springfield players (on Wayne’s team). Our players won. Our players work hard, and I’m very proud of our players.”

Top Week 10 games

Trotwood-Madison (7-2, 3-1) at Springfield (8-1, 4-0): This will be the first time Douglass has coached against the program he guided to a state championships in 2011 since his first game as Springfield coach in 2014. Trotwood-Madison won that matchup 34-6. Both teams have clinched playoff spots.

Kenton Ridge (5-4, 1-3) at Shawnee (7-2, 3-1): The Cougars won this matchup 47-30 last season. They have not been eliminated from playoff contention but rank 12th in Division IV, Region 16 and will need some help from other teams if they beat Shawnee, which has clinched a berth in D-V, Region 20.

Northwestern (5-4, 3-1) at Graham (4-5, 2-2): Northwestern has won eight of the last nine in the series.

Greeneview (5-4, 3-1) at Greenon (7-2, 4-0): Greenon needs to win to claim the Ohio Heritage Conference South Division championship outright but will also have its eyes on the scoreboard after the game as it seeks its first playoff berth. It ranks 10th in D-V, Region 20.

Mechanicsburg (8-1, 3-1) at West Liberty-Salem (8-1, 3-1): There's a four-way tie for first in the OHC North. One of these teams will tie with West Jefferson or Fairbanks.

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