CANTON, Ohio (WKBN) – Springfield’s dream season ended in disappointing fashion, as the Tigers fell to Anna 48-14 in the Division VI State Championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium Friday morning.
The Rockets claim their first state title in program history.
“I’m proud of our kids and how they responded throughout the season,” Tigers head coach Sean Guerriero sated. “We made school history. If you told me in week one if I thought we’d be in the state championship I would have said, ‘I don’t know about that one’.”
Following a Springfield turnover on a muffed punt in the first quarter, Anna opened the scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run by Riley Huelskamp, giving the Rockets a 7-0 lead.
The Rockets would add to their lead following a short punt by the Tigers which gave the Rockets the ball at the Tiger 32. On the second play of the second quarter, Bart Bixler would score on a 4-yard scamper to give them a 14-0 lead at the 11:12 mark of the second quarter.
Anna would take advantage of another Tiger miscue moments later when they recovered a Tiger fumble at the Springfield 38. One play later they took a 21-0 lead in the second quarter when Bixler connected with Nolan Emerson on a 38-yard touchdown pass at the 9:00 mark.
Springfield finally broke into the scoring column with 4:36 left in the first half when Brungard connected with Evan Ohlin with 4:36 remaining in the half. That cut the deficit to 21-7.
But Anna answered back just three plays later with a 72-yard touchdown run by Riley Huelskamp, increasing the Rockets’ advantage to 28-7. That score came with 3:03 before halftime.
As the Tigers have done throughout the playoffs, they would score just before intermission. The Tigers cut the deficit in half with :25 left in the second quarter when Beau Brungard hit David Duvall on a double-reverse pass from 16-yards out, making it 28-14 Anna at the break.
“Putting that score in before and making it 28-14, we talk about the trust factor with these kids. When ever we need to make a play we have been able to make a play, but we just couldn’t get that momentum going,” Guerriero said.
“We know regardless of the score, if there is time left the game is not over until the clock hits zero,” senior receiver Garrett Walker remarked.
Anna tacked on six more early in the third quarter when Huelskamp returned an interception 32-yards for the touchdown. The extra point was no-good, but the Rockets held a 34-14 lead.
Anna made it 41-14 on a 20-yard scoring scamper by Huelskamp with 3:09 left in the third quarter.
The Rockets would close the scoring in the game midway through the fourth quarter when Bart Bixler plunged in from a yard out to increase Anna’s lead to 48-14 with 7:37 left in the game.
“With turnovers and penalties, and things of that sore, we didn’t really give ourselves a chance to succeed today,” Guerriero said.
Brungard would complete 17 of 35 passes on the day for 213 yards and 2 touchdowns. He would also have two aerials picked off, one returned to a score. Walker would snag 8 receptions for 106 yards while Evan Ohlin would catch 6 passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.
The Tigers were held to only 21 rushing yards in the game compared to the Rockets 322 yards. Anna would only net 51 passing yards in the game.
Springfield ends the season with a record of 14-1.
Anna likewise ends the championship campaign with the same record of 14-1.