Springfield hopes to get back on track at Springboro

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield High Wildcats have lost three of their last four games by a total of nine points, including a 10-7 loss at Fairmont in Week 6.

While the Wildcats are 2-4, the season is far from over, said Springfield coach Maurice Douglass. Springfield will look to rebound this week against Springboro (1-5, 1-2) in a Greater Western Ohio Conference game on Friday night at CareFlight Field.

“We just want to get better each week, each day at some part of the game and let’em lie where they lie,” Douglass said. “You never know what can happen. We need to have good practices and build on that. We did some good things last week.”

With four games remaining, Springfield is hoping to hit its stride over the next few weeks to make some noise in the Division I, Region 2 playoffs. The Wildcats have advanced to the D-I state championship game each of the past two seasons, falling to Lakewood St. Edward in both 2021 and 2022.

While the road may be different than previous years, Douglass knows his team is capable of making a deep run in the playoffs — especially with the new 16-team per region format. In 2016, St. Xavier became the first five-loss team to win a state championship — proving anything is possible, he said.

“The key is finishing strong, getting in and anything can happen when you get in,” Douglass said.

The Wildcats held Fairmont to 152 yards of total offense last week, but turned the ball over three times in the loss — a theme in Springfield’s four losses this fall.

“I told them that whoever wins the turnover battle is going to win 90 percent of the time,” Douglass said. “For us, that’s been the case. The games we’ve lost the turnover battle are the games we’ve lost. It’s going out there and being consistent, not having a bunch of turnovers and creating some for ourselves. We’ve got to be consistent.”

Springfield has won four straight games against the Panthers dating back to 2019.

Panthers senior quarterback Austin Newdigate has thrown for 443 yards and ranks fifth in the GWOC with 360 rushing yards in Springboro’s spread offense. He shares the position with sophomore Jacob Davis, who has thrown for 433 yards. Panthers senior wide receiver Maxim Butler has caught 33 passes for 311 yards and two touchdowns.

Senior linebacker Connor Smith leads the Panthers defense, ranking third in the GWOC in tackles (59). Senior defensive back Will Yates, a Ball State commit, has two interceptions this season.

“They’ve got a good group,” Douglass said. “(Panthers coach Ryan Wilhite) has a good staff. They’re just kind of like us right now.”

Springfield’s defense ranks first in the GWOC with 210.3 yards per game, while Springboro’s defense is tied for second with Miamisburg at 218.5 yards per game.

Springfield junior quarterback Brent Upshaw returned to practice this week after missing the past two weeks with an injury. It’s unclear if he’ll play this week, but is expected to return at some point this season.

“We know somewhere along the road he’s going to be healthier,” Douglass said. “When we have him, we know what we’re capable of. We’ve seen some glimpses of how good we can be offensively.”

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