Springfield coach 3 days before state title game: ‘Believe me, they’re ready’

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Highlights: Springfield rallies to beat Saint Ignatius on Friday, Aug. 20, 2021

Wildcats will try to knock off another state powerhouse in Canton

The head coaches from the 14 teams playing for Ohio state championships this week in Canton participated in a teleconference with reporters on Tuesday.

Maurice Douglass, of Springfield, was the second-to-last coach to speak and was followed by the other head coach in the Division I state championship game, Tom Lombardo, of Lakewood St. Edward.

ExploreSpringfield's path to state championship game

St. Edward (14-1) has won four state championships (2010, 2014, 2015 and 2018), and Lombardo has been the head coach for the last two. Douglass coached Trotwood-Madison to a state championship in 2011 and has led the Wildcats to their first appearance in the title game.

Playing an Ohio powerhouse like St. Edward one week after beating nine-time state champion Cincinnati Moeller 22-21 last Friday in Sidney gives Springfield (13-1) extra incentive.

“It’s just another little niche for us to try to keep knocking down the dominoes,” Douglass said.

Springfield scrimmaged Louisville Trinity, one of Kentucky’s greatest programs, in the preseason. It also beat Cleveland St. Ignatius, an 11-time state champion, 24-20 in Week 1.

No current Greater Western Ohio Conference program has won a state championship, though Trotwood-Madison won three while it was a member of the conference (2011, 2017 and 2019) and Piqua (2006) and Lebanon (1998) also won state titles while in the GWOC. Wayne is a four-time state runner-up. Centerville reached the state championship game in 1991.

Explore» PHOTOS: Springfield vs. Moeller

Douglass was asked Tuesday if his team is ready for the challenge it will face at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

“Believe me, they’re ready,” he said. “This town is ready.”

Springfield practiced at Wittenberg’s indoor facility, The Steemer, on Monday and practiced there again Tuesday. It will practice outside at the high school on Wednesday and Thursday. It will depart for Canton at 11 a.m. Friday and spend the night there after the game with plans to tour the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Wittenberg has opened its facility in recent weeks to the team when there’s poor weather.

“We’ve been able to go in there from 2 o’clock to 4:30, really any day that we need it,” Douglass said.

Douglass said the offense benefits from playing on the turf. It helps with the timing of quarterback Te’Sean Smoot and his receivers and running backs. On Wednesdays, the team goes back outside and emphasizes defense. That routine has led to the team’s third straight run to the state semifinals and now its first appearance in the championship game.

“It’s been successful for us,” Douglass said.

FRIDAY’S GAME

Who: Springfield vs. Lakewood St. Edward

What: Division I state football championship

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, Canton

TV: Spectrum News 1

Tickets: ohsaa.org/tickets

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Springfield Wildcats football: 2021 highlights

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