What Springfield’s football coach is seeing that makes him feel good about 2018

In less than a week of preseason practice, Springfield High School football coach Maurice Douglass can already see a big difference in this Wildcats team.

“They’re holding each other accountable,” said Douglass, who is entering his fifth season in Springfield. “In the past, we had some guys who wouldn’t say the hard things to one another. This year, guys are holding each other accountable. It’s been a pleasure and a plus for us.”

Douglass hopes the new attitude can bring more success for a Wildcats team that finished 6-4 last season and 1-3 in the Greater Western Ohio Conference National East. Springfield was in the playoff hunt in Division I, Region 3 until Week 10, but fell to Fairmont 7-3 and finished 10th in the region.

MORE HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: Preparation for season sending Southeastern to unusual location

The Wildcats’ goals are always to win the GWOC National East Division and advance to playoffs, but they’re not looking past a Week 1 matchup against Lancaster at 7 p.m. on Aug. 24 at Evans Stadium.

Springfield beat the Golden Gales 55-21 in Lancaster last year.

“They’ve always got a tough group of kids and they’re going to run that triple option a thousand times over,” Douglass said. “We’ve got to come assignment sound and do our job.”

The Wildcats lost starting quarterback Leonard Taylor, who signed to play at the University of Cincinnati this season. He tossed for 1,759 yards last season.

Senior Raheim Moss, who has received offers to play collegiately for both football and basketball, played outside linebacker last year but will see time at quarterback this fall. He played quarterback as a freshman, Douglass said. Incoming freshman Te’Sean Smoot may also see time under center, he said.

The Wildcats will also feature junior running back Tavion Smoot, who rushed for 721 yards and eight touchdowns – and whom his coach affectionately nicknamed Snacks.

“He’s gotten lighter, and that will allow him to be a little bit more elusive,” Douglass said. “It’s going to help with his durability. … He’s coming downhill all day. He’s going to be a battering ram. If you don’t want to get hit, you need to get out of the game.”

Earlier this week, senior wide receiver Michael Brown-Stephens announced his commitment to the University of Minnesota. He had 24 catches for 341 yards (14.2) and accounted for five touchdowns last season for the Wildcats.

“Everything they have is basically perfect for me,” he said. “The city, the coaches – everything just fell into place.”

It’s also a relief to have his future set before the start of the season, Brown-Stephens said.

“I can focus on winning with my team,” he said.

Browns-Stephens also enjoyed spending time with Gophers coach P.J. Fleck, the former Western Michigan coach who has sent 17 receivers into the NFL over the past decade, he said.

“He’s super energetic,” he said.

Brown-Stephens joins senior teammate and DB Moses Douglass (Kentucky) – Maurice Douglass’ son – in committing prior to the upcoming season. More Springfield Class of 2019 recruits are sure to follow, including offensive lineman Isaiah Gibson.

The senior class may have up to 14 players who could play at the next level, including potentially five Division I athletes, Douglass said.

“I’m happy for this group,” Douglass said. “They were like the land of misfit toys when they were freshmen. They had some talent, but they didn’t have togetherness.”

That’s changed in the past few years, Douglass said. The class has recognized the importance of doing things the right way, he said.

“They’ve decided to hold each other accountable and have a true brotherhood,” Douglass said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

High School Football State Poll: Which area teams are ranked?
High School Football State Poll: Which area teams are ranked?

How a state panel of sports writers and broadcasters rates Ohio high school football teams in the weekly Associated Press poll of 2018. Teams are ranked by OHSAA divisions, with won-lost record and total points (first-place votes in parentheses): 1. Cin. Colerain (9) 5-0 217 2. Mentor (8) 5-0 214 3. Pickerington Central (6) 5-0 208 4. Reynoldsburg...
Ohio State QB Haskins wins Big Ten Player of the Week award for second time in four weeks
Ohio State QB Haskins wins Big Ten Player of the Week award for second time in four weeks

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins won the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week award Monday for the second time in four weeks. Haskins shared the award with Penn State running back Miles Sanders. The No. 4 Buckeyes and No. 9 Nittany Lions play at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in State College, Pa. In a 49-6 victory against Tulane, Haskins completed...
Report: Bengals lose defensive lineman to season-ending injury
Report: Bengals lose defensive lineman to season-ending injury

Bengals defensive lineman Ryan Glasgow suffered a season-ending knee injury in Sunday’s loss to Carolina, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. Rapoport said Glasgow, a second-year player from the University of Michigan, suffered a torn ACL. Glasgow, a key reserve, played in all three games this season and appeared in all 16 games as...
Ohio State football: Nick Bosa will miss Penn State game; 2 other starters return
Ohio State football: Nick Bosa will miss Penn State game; 2 other starters return

Ohio State is getting two starters back this week for a top 10 showdown with Penn State, but Nick Bosa is not one of them.  OSU coach Urban Meyer said Monday the All-American defensive end will be out “a few more weeks” after having surgery last week to repair a core muscle.  On the bright side, defensive tackle Robert Landers...
Scoochie Smith to play for Cavs’ G League team
Scoochie Smith to play for Cavs’ G League team

Former Dayton Flyers point guard Scoochie Smith was not on the training camp roster released by the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday, but Smith said he will play for the the Cavaliers’ G League team, the Canton Charge, this season. Smith signed with the Cavaliers earlier this month but was waived days later. According to a report by Keith Smith...
More Stories