CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) –
top-seeded Springfield Tigers have not played in a Regional Final since the
year 2000, while second-seeded Mogadore has participated in six Regional finals
and three state finals in that same time frame.
But it was the Tigers who bucked history and the took the DVI-Region 21 championship
with a 35-21 win over the Wildcats.
The Tigers, who improve to 13-0 on the season will now play the East Knox Bulldogs (13-0) next Friday at 7:00 PM at a location to be named Sunday. The Wildcats end their season with an 11-2 record.
The Tigers won the hard-fought battle using a dynamic attack from sophomore quarterback Beau Brungard who rushed for 134 yards and 2 touchdowns while passing for another 211 yards on 13 of 19 completions and 2 touchdowns.
“Going into the week we knew we had to do both, we couldn’t rely on just one,” Brungard said of the Tiger’s ability to run and pass the ball. “We have great receivers and we have a great line and we can run. I’m so thankful for them that we have big bodies that can block for us.”
“We knew they were a complete team. I think 21 (Brungard) was even better at running the ball then we thought he was on film,” Wildcats head coach Matt Adorni admitted.
“With the amount of athletes we have out of our spread formations it hard (to defend). People want to go man on us and we get some one-on-one matchups. It is quite a unique thing we have right now,” Tigers head coach Sean Guerriero said. “And with our line upfront, they protect well, they block well and Mark (Brungard) does a great job of mixing things up.
With the Wildcats taking a 14-7 lead with 2:06 before halftime on a 35-yard run by Tave Constantine, the Tigers would counter with 21 unanswered points to pull away from the Wildcats. The first score would come with only 21 ticks remaining before intermission when Brungard would dive in from 1-yard out to knot the game at 14-14 intermission.
“We were trying to slow it down a little bit,” Adorni said the of the Wildcats game plan. “I turned and said we may have scored too fast before the half and gave them the ball back. I really think that was a big momentum swing. I thought we had the momentum there.”
“That was really important to us because we knew if we could get a score there it would be big and coming right back out of the half and getting the ball again. We could go down and score again,” Brungard remarked about the 14 point swing in the game.
The Tigers would receive the opening kickoff of the second half and march 88-yards on 13 plays and score on 1-yard run by David Duval to make it 21-14. That touchdown would come with 6:44 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers would distance themselves by scoring again with 2:04 left in the quarter. Following a big defensive stand by the Tigers, Brungard would connect with his senior receiver Garrett Walker on a 61-strike down the left sideline to make it 28-14.
“Obviously scoring before halftime was huge, then coming down and putting up another touchdown put us up by seven, but our defense had a huge stop for us and we were able to go up by two scores,” Guerriero said. “At that point our kids were pumped up.”
“When you get up pretty big you feel kind of comfortable, but we told ourselves that we just can’t let that happen,” Brungard stated. “We had to play all four quarters and could let the score matter.”
The Wildcats would fight back as they scored with 7:19 remaining in the game when quarterback Will Popa plunged into the endzone from 1-yard out to make it 28-21.
But the Tigers would seal the game with 3:29 left when Brungards scored his second rushing touchdown on a 7-yard run to make it 35-14. That would send the large crowd of Tiger fans into a frenzy.
The Wildcats began the scoring n the night with their second possession. They would methodically march 93-yards on 19 plays, consuming 8:07 off the game clock. Tyler Knight would give the Wildcats a 7-0 with a 4-yard run.
The Tigers would answer as Brungard would connect with Evan Ohlin on a 7-yard pass to make it 7-7. That score would occur at 5:15 left in the second quarter.
The Wildcats would amass 277 yards on the ground in the game on 51 rushing attempts, while only collecting 58 passing yards. The Tigers would run the ball for 173 yards on 27 carries and pass for 211 on 13 of 19 attempts.