White rushed for three touchdowns and senior quarterback Casey Bullock rushed for another score as the Eagles (15-1) beat the Wildcats in the state title game for the third straight year. Lakewood St. Edward beat Springfield 23-13 in 2021 and 28-14 last season.
Wildcats senior Jayvin Norman scored two touchdowns for the Wildcats, including a 93-yard kickoff return — the longest in D-I state championship game history. Springfield senior Da’Shawn Martin also scored a touchdown for the Wildcats, who finished the season 10-6.
“I’m so proud of these guys,” said Springfield coach Maurice Douglass. “They overcame so much. I’m so proud of our team, the community and all the support that we had.”
Lakewood St. Edward took a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter when Eagles senior quarterback Casey Bullock scrambled for a 13-yard touchdown run. After a three-and-out by the Wildcats, Eagles sophomore Brandon White scored on a 20-yard run to make it 14-0.
“We knew we had been in this position before,” said Springfield senior Duncan Bradley III. “We’ve been in this position all year. We’ve been down. We had to not put our head down and keep fighting until the end.”
After Wildcats senior Jayvin Norman broke free for a 44-yard run, senior Aaron Scott fumbled the ball into the end zone and Martin recovered to cut the lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter.
On St. Edward’s next possession, Springfield junior linebacker Kyron Dolby stopped White on third down to give the ball back to the Wildcats. Springfield junior quarterback Brent Upshaw hit Martin on a 38-yard pass to give the Wildcats the ball on St. Edward’s 22-yard line. A few plays later, Norman scored on a 1-yard TD run to tie the score with 3:48 remaining.
The Eagles needed just five plays to respond, tying the score on a 3-yard run by White.
Norman returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown to tie the score at 21.
“They usually don’t kick me the ball,” Norman said. “I didn’t think I was going to get it. I saw that it was bouncing, so I picked it up, slow-played it, saw a crease and hit it.”
On the next play, Springfield senior DaeDae Stapletown recovered an onside kick, giving the Wildcats the ball back with less than a minute remaining. Springfield drove the ball to St. Edward’s 1-yard line with nine seconds remaining, but Upshaw — looking for Martin who was double teamed in the end zone — opted to scramble and was stopped short of the goal line as time expired.
Midway through the third quarter, the Wildcats drove to St. Edward’s 31-yard line, but Upshaw fumbled and St. Edward senior safety Eddie Andrews recovered.
A few plays later, Springfield senior Jack Walker Cherry caused White to fumble and senior Christian Kern-Dubois recovered, giving the ball back to the Wildcats.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Moyer kicked a 36-yard field goal to give the Eagles a 24-21 lead.
On their next possession, the Wildcats went three-and-out and were forced to punt. The Eagles sealed the game on a 3-yard run by White with 1:27 remaining.
White finished the game with 235 rushing yards as St. Edward won its seventh state title in program history.
Springfield started the season 3-5, winning seven straight games to win their fifth straight regional championship and make a return trip to Canton. The Wildcats, the 12th-seed in Region 2, were the highest-seeded team to ever advance to a state championship game.
“Whatever we did today it was a win-win for us because we weren’t even supposed to be (here),” Douglass said. “I look at the teams we beat to get here, they had great records and things like that, but none of them had the start or the adversity we had to go through.”