De­spite some ‘sloppy’ play, Springers grind it out

High­land Springs gets 5th straight win be­hind its ‘lock down’ de­fense

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - Baseball - BY ARTHUR UTLEY Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

High­land Springs lost to Her­mitage in its sea­son-open­ing foot­ball game.

A week later Hen­rico lost to Her­mitage in its sea­son opener.

Nei­ther the Springers nor War­riors had been on the los­ing end again un­til Fri­day night when Hen­rico trav­eled to High­land Springs.

High­land Springs, ranked No. 3 in The Times-Dis­patch Top 10 and the two-time de­fend­ing Class 5 state cham­pion, de­feated 10th-ranked Hen­rico 23-6 for its fifth vic­tory in a row. The War­riors dropped to 3-2.

The game was com­pet­i­tive but not pretty. High­land Springs coach Loren John­son called his team’s play “sloppy in a lot of dif­fer­ent ways. We’ve just got to clean up. We didn’t want a game like this, but we had a game like this, and it just gives us some­thing more to build on and to make us bet­ter.

“We’ve got some work to do. We were down a cou­ple of peo­ple. That’s not an ex­cuse. Ev­ery­body’s got to be ready to go and ev­ery­body’s got to be pol­ished and per­form well.”

High­land Springs scored first on its sec­ond pos­ses­sion. Two penal­ties against the War­riors and a 31-yard pass com­ple­tion from D’Vonte Waller to Billy Kemp helped the Springers cover 71 yards in five plays. Shy’re McKeiver (15 car­ries, 75 yards) scored from 5 yards out and Jay­den Al­sh­eskie kicked the ex­tra point.

Al­sh­eskie booted a 23-yard field goal af­ter a third straight short pos­ses­sion by the War­riors to put the Springers up 10-0. Hen­rico man­aged just 18 yards rush­ing and 70 yards pass­ing in the first half.

“The de­fense is lock down,” said backup quar­ter­back David Laney, who scored the last touch­down of the game on a 1-yard run. “That’s what we do. Our de­fense is known to stop peo­ple.

“We had our mis­takes. We got the win. We’re go­ing to get bet­ter, of course. This week’s over. We’ll go out next week and get bet­ter and get an­other win.”

Hen­rico’s only score of the game came on a 35-yard touch­down pass from Lawrence Cham­bers to Ja’Had Carter with 10:49 left in the sec­ond quar­ter. The ex­tra-point try was blocked.

The Springers scored again at the 5:21 mark of the quar­ter on Dre’Shaun Tay­lor’s 26-yard touch­down run. Tay­lor, a fresh­man, weighs in at 240 pounds.

Nei­ther team scored in the third quar­ter.

“We won. That’s more than any­thing. When you do power rat­ings and points and stuff like that they don’t ask by how many points, they just say you won. We won the game. We used both quar­ter­backs. The de­fense played ex­tremely well and we did some things,” said John­son. “We ex­e­cuted a fake punt which we haven’t done since 2012 I don’t think. It was an op­por­tune time to call it and those things make it fun, and we’ll be bet­ter in that re­gard so I’m happy about it.”

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