Loaded with multi-sport athletes, the Springfield High School football program has leaned on that talent to venture as deep into the playoffs as another other Wildcats football team.
That also has presented a bonus as Springfield prepares for a Week 12 game on Friday.
“We get to continue without this basketball season starting,” said Wildcats coach Maurice Douglass following a 19-14 first-round defeat of nemesis Fairmont last Friday.
Springfield and Greeneview are the only two remaining area teams that won their playoff openers. Springfield (9-2) will play top-seeded Hilliard Davidson (10-1) in a Division I, Region 3 semifinal at London Bowlus Field at 7 p.m. Friday. Greeneview (10-1) also is matched against a No. 1 seed, Wheelersburg (10-1) in a D-V, Region 20 semi at Chillicothe Herrnstein Field at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Shawnee and Northwestern (D-IV, Region 16) and Mechanicsburg (D-VI, Region 24) were eliminated in playoff openers.
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The postseason switches to neutral sites this week, which the Ohio High School Athletic Association announced on Sunday.
Springfield is one of three Greater Western Ohio Conference teams remaining in the postseason, joining Northmont and Troy. Northmont (10-1) is paired against defending D-I state champ Pickerington Central (9-2) in the other D-I, Region 3 semi. The winners will meet in the following Week 13 regional final.
Springfield hasn’t ventured this deep into the playoffs since the 2010 Wildcats (9-3). Ironically, Springfield was eliminated by Hilliard Davidson that season in a regional semi, 9-0.
Springfield’s playoff defeat of Fairmont was long-awaited payback. It was a rematch of their regular season-ending Week 10 game that Fairmont won also at Evans Stadium, 14-7. Fairmont knocked Springfield out of playoff contention in Week 10 of the 2017 season, 7-3.
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“We have to come back this week, work hard, be focused and pay attention to detail,” said Douglass, who credited a couple of defensive switches at halftime as a difference-maker against Fairmont in the playoff game. “We were resilient and it showed.”
Davidson advanced by taking out Wayne, another GWOC rep, 28-21 at Hilliard. Davidson’s only loss was 17-14 in overtime to Pickerington Central. A Central Ohio power, this is Davidson’s 18th appearance in the playoffs, all but two since 2000. Davidson won D-I football state titles in 2009 and ’06.
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• Greeneview extended its season with a 31-28 win at Cincinnati Madeira on Saturday night. Jon Brakeall’s 25-yard field goal with just 41 seconds left was the difference. Rams QB Nick Clevenger had 208 yards rushing and scored on runs of 30, 6 and 5 yards. Clay Payton also had a 2-yard TD run.
Wheelersburg defeated Portsmouth West 52-7 in a rematch of their Week 10 game that Wheelersburg also won.
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