ORRVILLE, Ohio (WKBN) – Springfield rolled past previously unbeaten East Knox, 42-14 in the Division VI State Semifinals at Orrville High School Friday night.
The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs 471 to 236 in total yards and 402 to 45 in rushing yards.
“Our defense stepped up and played amazing,” senior linebacker David Duval said. “We played lights out. It just shows how much potential we can have if we all do our jobs.”
“We have a nice sized line. We have a group of good kids with experience,” senior lineman Chris Thompson remarked. “With the way Brungard runs, we can miss our assignments and he can still run all over the field.”
The win punches Springfield’s ticket to the state championship game for the first time in program history. The Tigers improve to 14-0 on the season and will face the 13-1 Anna Rockets at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6.
“I don’t know if it’s going to hit us right now,” Tigers coach Sean Guerrierro said of going to the state championship game. “I’m just so proud of our team right now how we came out and played and prepared. I’m just so grateful for my staff, the team and the community that we’re in.”
“It’s incredible, just incredible knowing we are going to play on that field,” sophomore quarterback Beau Brungard said. “We have so many people behind us. We’ve had this marked on our map the entire season.”
“I’m lost for words, it’s crazy,” Duvall exclaimed. “It’s a dream come true.”
“It doesn’t feel real. I mean, we are going to be ready. We will have a great week of preparation ahead of us, and I think it’s going to be a great game next week,” Thompson added.
Beau Brungard led the Tigers with a total of four touchdowns in the victory as he rushed for a game-high 230 yards on 13 attempts. He also completed 5 of 8 passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.
After the two teams traded possessions to open the contest, the Tigers Evan Ohlin intercepted a Bulldogs pass at the Tigers 42. Then, they would then score with 2:20 left in the first quarter on a Beau Brungard 58-yard touchdown run, giving Springfield a 7-0 lead.
The Bulldogs tied the game 7-7 on a short 1-yard touchdown run from Weston Melick with 5:37 left in the first half. That drive was set up by an interception the Bulldogs at the Springfield 48.
But just like last week, the Springfield recaptured the lead just before halftime to give them a big momentum boost. With 38 seconds left in the first half, David Duvall plunged in for the 1-yard touchdown run to give the Tigers a 14-7 lead at intermission.
“It’s two weeks in a row now that it was a really big score,” Thompson said of the touchdown before halftime. “That really gave us the momentum especially getting the ball after the half.”
“It was huge,” Guerriero exclaimed. “We were able to make a few adjustments (halftime) and ended up getting a score. In the first half, we did some things that weren’t really like us. Three turnovers obviously put us behind a little bit, but they moved on and forgot about it.”
The Tigers rode that momentum despite a fumble on their opening possession at their own 47 when they stonewalled the Bulldogs and then scored quickly on a 75-yard touchdown run cutting through the Bulldog defense. That gave the Tigers a 21-7 advantage.
“It was a draw, and I dropped back and one of their players almost tackled me (in the backfield), and I was nervous e was going to get me. But I pushed with all my might with my legs and it opened up after that and I just ran to open space From there, I got into the end zone,” Brungard described the play.
Brungard was far from done. He later scored his third touchdown on the night on a 15-yard touchdown run with 8:30 left in the third quarter. That pulled the Tigers out to a 28-7 lead.
Just over three and a half minutes later, he connected with Garrett Walker on a 25-yard touchdown pass to increase the lead to 35-7.
East Knox cut into the deficit with 3:28 remaining in the third quarter when Kadden Lester connected with Westin Melick on a 42-yard touchdown pass, making it 35-14 in favor of Springfield.
Austin Tindell added the final points to the scoreboard early in the fourth quarter with a 1-yard touchdown run with 8:49 left in the game. That drive consumed 58-yards on 13 plays.
East Knox ends the season with a record of 13-1.