Springfield blows past St. Ignatius in season opener

Quarterback Brent Upshaw passes for 270 yards and 4 TDs in 27-11 win

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield High School football team won its season opener for the eighth straight season against one of Ohio’s storied programs.

Springfield junior quarterback Brent Upshaw threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns and the defense forced three turnovers in a 27-11 victory over Cleveland St. Ignatius on Friday night at Springfield High School.

It’s the second time in three seasons Springfield has beaten St. Ignatius, an 11-time state champion. A year ago, Springfield traveled to Parma for the season opener, but the game was canceled due to inclement weather. Springfield beat St. Ignatius 24-20 to open the 2021 season.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff to work on, but it’s the first game of the year,” said Springfield coach Maurice Douglass. “That’s the hardest game because people have the whole summer, the whole year to prepare against you and you don’t have film. … We’ll take it for the first game.”

Springfield senior Duncan Bradley had eight catches for 151 yards and two TDs, senior Da’Shawn Martin caught two passes for 80 yards and a TD and junior Jamil Miller caught four passes for 33 yards and a TD as Springfield’s high-powered offense gained 331 yards. Senior Jayvin Norman carried the ball 15 times for 56 yards.

Upshaw went 16-for-19, but also threw an interception midway through the fourth quarter.

“He’s got good players around him,” Douglass said. “Some things he’ll want to take back when we watch film tomorrow. Overall, I thought he did a good job for his first varsity start.”

Springfield took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter when Upshaw hit Miller for a 5-yard TD pass. After forcing a St. Ignatius punt, Bradley scored on a 28-yard catch-and-run to make it 14-0.

“It was important for us to get up, period,” Douglass said. “St. Ignatius is a good program. They’ve been a perennial power. They’ve got a new coaching staff and they’re young. … The staff did a good job preparing them. We just had to jump on them a little bit.”

St. Ignatius drove into Springfield territory late in the first half, but settled for a 32-yard field goal by senior Tommy Kilbane to make it 14-3 at the half.

Bradley scored on a 3-yard pass from Upshaw midway through the third quarter to give Springfield a 20-3 lead. Martin followed with a 72-yard TD catch to make it 27-3.

St. Ignatius scored on a 2-yard run by senior Quinn Woidke and Luke Simms caught a two-point conversion pass to make it 27-11.

Springfield’s defense took over the fourth quarter, stopping several St. Ignatius drives. Senior Kyron Dolby and senior Jayvin Martin each had interceptions and junior Jackson Heims added a sack and a forced fumble.

“We’ve been working all summer,” Douglass said. “We’ve been doing that in 7-on-7s and now we got a chance to do it in a game. … We’ve been creating turnovers and that’s something we’ve been harping on this offseason, coming up with turnovers and giving our offense the ball.”

Springfield will get an extra day to celebrate its season-opening win. The Wildcats play national powerhouse DeMatha Catholic (Maryland) in the Ironton Gridiron Classic at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 26, at Ironton Tanks Memorial Stadium.

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