Early deficit too much to overcome for Spring-Ford
READING » Wilson’s John Gurski Stadium is a tough environment for any visiting high school football team to quell.
It’s especially difficult when your ballclub suffers through a ragged first half, as the Spring Ford Rams did Friday night.
Spring-Ford fell behind by 21 points in the opening 24 minutes and that hole simply proved too steep a climb in a 33-22 defeat to host Wilson.
The contest delayed by lightning and heavy rain for 45 minutes at the start in West Lawn. Once resumed, it was completed without further interruption.
Spring-Ford came out sluggish and had difficulty keeping Wilson (2-1) out of its backfield, especially in a first half that could generously be described as subpar. The Bulldogs held the Rams to 53 total first-half yards; junior quarterback Ryan Engro was just 5 of 10 for 39 yards with a lost fumble and was sacked three times. What was a promising offense through two weeks just could not generate any kind of sustained attack.
Rams head coach Chad Brubaker would like to know what happened, too.
“I wish you could tell me what was going on in that first half,” Brubaker replied whimsically when asked. “We just did everything we possibly could to shoot ourselves in the foot. I don’t know the reasons behind that were, but we went into the half and said, ‘guys, we’ve done everything wrong we could possibly do and we’re not out of it.’”
And they weren’t. Spring-Ford looked like a different team after the break, into which they went trailing 21-0.
Engro, who finished 19 of 32 for 224 yards and a two scores, was able maneuver the Rams on a pair of scoring drives that slashed the deficit to 21-14 during the third quarter.
The initial drive of the second half went for nine plays and 76 yard and finished with Engro finding Noah Baker from 26 yards to make it 21-7. The Rams looked far crisper than they had on any of their five first-half possessions.
“We ran a couple screens in the second half and catch-and-throw a bit more,” Brubaker said. “We said OK, we’re down and we need to do what we have to get back into it.”
Engro tossed his finest completion of the night to jump-start Spring-Ford’s next profession, a 62-yard strike to Stephen Brill on the first snap that gave the rams the ball at the Wilson 4. A penalty on the next play hardly mattered, as Engro weaved his way in from 14 to slice the deficit to 21-14.
Late in the third, Wilson cashed in a short 52-yard field that saw Avanti Lockhart go in from 6 to give the hosts a 27-14 lead and stem the momentum shift.
But it was Wilson’s next score that reestablished control and it was special teams that bit the Rams again.
A punt block a week ago had the coaching staff move some offensive linemen to the unit to shore it up. On the first drive of the fourth quarter Friday night, Troy Corson fielded a booming kick that sailed over his head, from Taylor Smith, at his own 25 and was escorted by a wall of red jerseys down the near sideline to go 75 yards untouched into the end zone for a 33-14 lead.
“Their young punter (Smith) was basically outkicking his coverage,” Wilson head coach Doug Dahms said. “He was booming the ball. I thought our return team did a much better job this week.”