Spring­field over­comes ad­ver­sity to knock offH-H

The Colonial - - OPINION - By An­drew Robin­son

It was a foot­ball game Spring­field needed to have.

With a de­pleted roster and an op­po­nent find­ing its stride, it would have been easy for the Spar­tans to fold. But they needed the win, so they found a way to get it.

Spring­field fended off a game Hat­boro-Hor­sham team 27-21 un­der the lights Thurs­day.

“We knew go­ing into this game we had to get a win,” Spring­field quar­ter­back Chris Stone said. “We want to make the play­offs and we know we have a tough road to get there go­ing through Sub­ur­ban One. We had the right at­ti­tude and fought hard.”

The Hat­ters matched Spring­field ev­ery step of the way. But, a hand­ful of poor de­fen­sive plays were piv­otal in swing­ing the game for the hosts.

There was a scary mo­ment late in the third quar­ter when Hat­boro-Hor­sham run­ning back Kings­ley Nworu stayed down after a hit and even­tu­ally had to be taken off the field in an am­bu­lance. Hat­ters coach Mike Ka­pusta said it was more pre­cau­tion­ary, as Nworu had felt a sharp pain in the right side of his neck, but had mo­tion in his ex­trem­i­ties and was re­spon­sive to train­ers and paramedics.

“When I was over there, he was talk­ing and mov­ing his arms and legs,” Ka­pusta said. “It was just all pre­cau­tion­ary stuff.”

Spring­field jumped ahead early, scor­ing on the first drive of the game with a strong em­pha­sis on the run­ning game. Big full­back Brett Righter and pow­er­ful tail­back Martin Wor­gan set the tone with some strong drives up the gut be­fore Wor­gan went in from five yards out.

The Hat­ters put to­gether a nice drive, but it stalled and they had to punt. Spring­field went right back down the field, again lean­ing heav­ily on the run.

But Stone also played a key role, first find­ing the dy­namic Justin Hill for a 23-yard gain on the sec­ond play then hit­ting Hill again for a 37-yard touch­down. Hill was a threat any time he touched the ball, fin­ish­ing with 55 rush­ing yard on three car­ries and 129 re­ceiv­ing yards on five catches.

“He didn’t play last year, he wanted to get a start­ing job in bas­ket­ball and fo­cused on that,” Stone said of Hill. “But he came back and it’s nice to have him back. Our first game against Up­per More­land he had two un­be­liev­able punt re­turns and a great kick­off re­turn so we knew the rest of the sea­son he would be do­ing big things for us.”

Nworu, who fin­ished with 86 yards rush­ing on 19 tries, all but car­ried the Hat­ters back down the field to set up a one­yard score by Casey Walsh with 1:37 left in the half.

Hat­boro-Hor­sham re­ceived the sec­ond half kick­off and did pretty much the same thing. A 25-yard com­ple­tion byWalsh to Charlie Obrecht got the drive mov­ing, Nworu picked up some more hard-earned yards and Walsh capped it by squeez­ing in a nice throw to Obrecht, who fought through a tackle for a 16-yard score.

But with ev­ery­thing go­ing their way, a few lapses cost the Hat­ters almost right away.

“A lot of kids played re­ally hard, the o-line was mov­ing peo­ple off the ball,” Ka­pusta said. “It’s a shame to have a cou­ple of plays with ter­ri­ble tack­ling and pur­suit. Those lapses on de­fense kill us.”

Stone hit Hill for 37 yards on 2nd-and-17, Wor­gan ran twice for 13 yards, Stone hit Hill for 17 more and fi­nally the quar­ter­back took it 25 yards for the go-ahead score with 5:36 left in the third quar­ter.

Two plays later, Nworu lost a fum­ble after a tough run and got rolled up try­ing to re­cover it, lead­ing to his in­jury.

After the in­jury stop­page, Spring­field moved the ball again, but Stone lost a fum­ble on the Hat­ters’ 11 to quash the mo­men­tum.

The Spar­tan de­fense forced a three-and-out, and with one play, Hill struck again.

Tak­ing a hand­off, the Spar­tan looked trapped after go­ing left. Un­leash­ing a vi­cious cut­back move, he sprinted hard the other way, leav­ing the Hat­ters scram­bling to re­cover and ul­ti­mately un­able to do so as Hill ran 48 yards for the score.

“It’s bru­tal,” Ka­pusta said. “It’s missed tack­les and poor pur­suit. I don’t know what it is, not un­der­stand­ing the re­spon­si­bil­ity, but it’s very frus­trat­ing.”

With Nworu out, Obrecht took over as run­ning back and car­ried the ball up to the Spar­tan 45. After tak­ing a sack, Walsh made amends by hit­ting Matt Reamer on a slant and Reamer did the rest, run- ning 47 yards to make it 2721.

Hat­boro-Hor­sham’s de­fense locked up when it needed to, stop­ping the Spar­tans on 4th-and-4 from the Hat­ter 19 with 2:10 to go. But, the Spring­field de­fense was ready with a stop of its own, sack­ing Walsh on third down and forc­ing a hur­ried throw on 4th-and-8 that Reamer couldn’t quite haul in to seal up the win.

“We have a kid out with a con­cus­sion, a se­nior line­man who’s been play­ing for four years,” Stone said. “Another line­man went down right be­fore half­time. We were down to our backup run­ning back at guard, ba­si­cally two starters left on the line. We came through all that ad­ver­sity to win the game.

“We needed it.”

BOB RAINES - 21st CEN­TURY ME­DIA

Spring­field’s Michael John­ston runs wide to find room to turn up­field dur­ing a home game against Hat­boroHor­sham Oct. 2.

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