Delian Bradley wore the homecoming king’s crown at halftime Friday and then celebrated third-ranked Springfield’s 44-7 victory against No. 9 Centerville in what was supposed to be the most challenging game on the Greater Western Ohio Conference schedule for the Wildcats.
What was better?
“I’ll take both,” said Bradley, a senior free safety. “Two wins in one night is great.”
Bradley also returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. He was just one standout for the Wildcats on a night of dominance in a matchup of top-10 teams in Springfield.
Te’Sean Smoot ran for three scores and completed 16 of 19 passes for 192 yards with one touchdown pass. Anthony Brown caught a 50-yard touchdown pass from Smoot and led the Springfield receivers with 10 catches for 113 yards.
“This is what we’re built for; we’re built for moments like this,” Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said. “I came in for these type of moments. We want to get even further than we did last year, and these are the things that build that type of momentum.”
No. 3 Springfield (7-0, 5-0), a state semifinalist the last two seasons, lost one regular-season game in each of the last two seasons: 16-12 to Fairfield in 2019 and 38-35 to Northmont in 2020. By beating Centerville, it moved within two victories of its first perfect regular season since the new high school opened in 2008.
The Wildcats sit alone in first place in the Greater Western Ohio Conference with a road game at Miamisburg (5-3, 2-3) in Week 9 and then a regular-season finale at home against Northmont (2-5, 0-5).
“It was meant to be this way,” Springfield defensive lineman Jokell Brown said. “We prepared all week. We came out here and executed like we were supposed to, and we did our job.”
No. 9 Centerville (6-2, 4-1) saw its five-game winning streak end and lost to Springfield for the fourth straight season. The Elks play Fairmont (5-3, 2-3) at home next week and then close the regular season at Wayne (6-2, 4-1).
The Elks grabbed the momentum in the opening minutes by attempting and recovering an onside kick to begin the game. They then took advantage of a pass-interference penalty on 4th-and-10 and scored on a 16-yard pass from Chase Harrison to Emable Wakilongo. That touchdown ended Springfield’s three-game and 14-quarter scoreless streak.
The Wildcats responded to Centerville’s touchdown with 44 straight points. The last seven minutes were played under a running clock because of the score differential. It was Centerville’s most lopsided loss since a 49-6 loss to Springfield in 2018. Springfield beat Centerville for the fourth straight season.
Springfield held Centerville to five first downs and outgained Centerville 354-54 in total yards. Harrison, the GWOC’s leading passer with 1,603 yards and 17 touchdowns, completed 8 of 28 passes for 38 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Springfield overcame three penalties, one of which erased a touchdown run by Smoot, on its opening drive. The Wildcats faced 4th-and-10 when Smoot ran for the first score. A penalty made that a 4th-and-3, and the Wildcats still converted. Smoot capped the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run.
Smoot finished Springfield’s second drive with a 4-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and then threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Brown on Springfield’s third drive. Springfield led 21-7. It was Brown’s third touchdown catch of the season, and it came one play after he caught another touchdown pass from Smoot. A penalty erased that score.
The Wildcats took a 24-7 lead into halftime after Cole Yost kicked a 43-yard field goal in the final minute.
Smoot ran for his third touchdown of the game and 11th of the season in the third quarter, scoring from 5 yards out to extend the lead to 31-7.
“That’s our guy; that’s our leader,” Bradley said. “We’re going to trust him every day. We’re going to take him over anybody.’
Jayvin Norman scored Springfield’s final touchdown on a 1-yard run in the final minute. He rushed 13 times for 76 yards.
Christian McMillian also had an interception for Springfield, which gave up 26 points in two non-conference games and has allowed 21 points in five GWOC games.
“We’ve got a lot of athletes,” Brown said. “We’ve got a lot of people I’ve been playing with since peewee. We fight. We practice hard. Our defensive coordinator makes sure we get prepared every game. We go out there and play.”