Springfield passing game ranks among state’s elite

Springfield High School senior quarterback Bryce Schondelmyer didn’t need much time to develop a special connection with his talented Wildcats receiving corps.

During the summer, the Wildcats worked hard to develop a rapport — and it showed early in the season.

“They’re going to make plays, I just have to get them the ball,” Schondelmyer said.

After 14 weeks — Springfield’s Week 1 game at Cleveland St. Ignatius was canceled due to weather — the Wildcats’ passing game ranks among Ohio’s elite.

Schondelmyer and senior receivers Anthony Brown and Daylen Bradley will finish their careers on several all-time statistical lists, according to the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s unofficial record book.

Despite the numbers, the Wildcats have one goal remaining — win a state championship. The Wildcats (13-1) will face Lakewood St. Edward (14-1) in the Division I state championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton for the second straight season. Last year, the Wildcats fell to the Eagles 23-13.

The Wildcats fought back from a seven-point halftime deficit to beat Moeller 28-24 in a D-I state semifinal game last week.

“This game was up-and-down,” Schondelmyer said. “It was a roller-coaster ride. We’ve got a very gritty team, very gritty players. It starts with our coaching staff putting that into our head that (the other team) is going to make plays. (Moeller) is an unbelievable football team. We just had to bounce back and that’s what we did. It ended up working out for us.”

Schondelmyer will have one more game to add to his already impressive season and career passing yardage and touchdown totals. The senior has thrown for 4,424 yards and 47 touchdowns this season — both of which rank in the top-20 in their respective categories.

Brown (Kentucky commit) ranks among the all-time season yardage leaders with 1,543 yards, while Bradley (UMass and Purdue offers) ranks among the all-time season receptions leaders with 90. Both Brown and Bradley have caught passes in 25 straight games — which also ranks them among the all-time state leaders.

Brown’s 3,236 caeer receiving yards and counting will also rank him among the all-time leaders.

The Schondelmyer-to-Brown connection has paid big dividends in Springfield’s biggest games this season. The pair connected for two crucial second-half touchdowns in last week’s victory over Moeller.

“Our chemistry got right because we’re practicing throws like that after practice,” Brown said. “I feel like that’s where we really grew our chemistry.”

Schondelmyer ranks among the top-10 in both career passing yards (11,135) and passing touchdowns (135). After Friday’s victory against Moeller, Springfield coach Maurice Douglass pleaded with Division I programs to give Schondelmyer a chance to play at the next level. He currently holds offers from Dayton, Valparaiso, Malone and Tiffin.

“He’s what every team would want,” Douglass said. “If there’s a Division I school out there, give this young man an opportunity. He’s going to go above and beyond. He’s a gym rat. He’s a tremendous leader.”

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