Wildcats hope to ‘handle success’ after rousing season-opening win

Springfield hosts Princeton on Friday night

For the second year in a row, Springfield football started the season with a rousing win over a traditionally strong program from central Ohio.

This time, coach Maurice Douglass is hoping for a better encore.

"We went and won a game last year and then went to Princeton in Week 2 and lost, so we'll definitely be focused this week," Douglass said after the Wildcats rocked Lancaster 55-21 on Friday night .

The Vikings, once a Greater Miami Conference powerhouse but not recently, dealt Springfield a 28-21 setback last season after Douglass’ team scored a surprising 22-20 win over Dublin Coffman in Week 1.

Princeton (0-1) will be Springfield’s Week 2 opponent this time around, too, so motivation shouldn’t be hard for Douglass and his staff.

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“We’re going to be taking care of our business,” Douglass said. “I think we know how to handle success a little better this year than we did last year.”

Springfield’s 2016 squad was talented but leaned heavily on Danny Davis.

The team’s leading rusher (1,200 yards) and receiver (470 yards on 20 catches) is now a freshman at Wisconsin, but the Wildcats didn’t miss him in their opener.

Their 55 points were the most they have scored since early in 2010 when they whipped Miamisburg 61-7.

Quarterback Leonard Taylor keyed the attack, completing 17 of 28 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns (he also ran for a score), but he had plenty of help.

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Taylor’s new favorite target was Caleb Johnson, a senior transfer from Trotwood who caught six passes for 137 yards and three touchdowns. Johnson also took a direct snap and ran for a touchdown from 1 yard out. Niko Jones, the team’s No. 2 receiver last season, caught four passes for 61 yards while William Finch III had43 yards on three catches.

Taylor ran for 62 yards and a touchdown while Jeff Toliver added 63 yards on the ground, including a 59-yard touchdown sprint around end in the third quarter that helped break the game open.

Tavion Smoot, a 240-pound sophomore, added a 79-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter while Ja’Sha-Meik Button scored from 18 yards out in garbage time.

“Yeah, love to see all my wide receivers making plays,” said Taylor, a Division I recruit at tight end and defensive line. “Get some film, get some (scholarship) offers.”

Douglass said over the summer the plan was to move Taylor from quarterback, where he finished the season as the starter last season, but for now he will remain Springifeld’s signal caller. He’s also a starting defensive tackle.

Tyler Carter, a 6-2, 189-pound senior, is his backup at quarterback.

“We’re gonna wait and see,” Douglass said Friday night. “Leonard was a guy who led a team to seven victories and a playoff run. It’s kind of hard to give a guy’s spot away who has done that.

“We’re gonna do what we do, use everybody that we have. We’re gonna come back next week, hopefully get a chance to utilize Tyler a little bit more and just keep competing.”

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