Springfield overcomes adversity to knock offH-H
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.”
Springfield’s Michael Johnston runs wide to find room to turn upfield during a home game against HatboroHorsham Oct. 2.