While coaches, administrators and public safety personnel met midfield to decide whether or not to postpone Friday’s Springboro-Middletown prep football game due to lightning, one message was clear — the Middies are much improved.
A week after posting its first season opening win since 2011 in head coach Don Simpson’s debut, Middletown (1-0) erupted for a 23-7 first-quarter lead over the host Panthers.
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Springboro (0-1) rallied to take a 28-23 advantage before the game was stopped with 7:15 left in the third quarter. The contest will resume Saturday at 10 a.m.
Led by the senior trio of Jarrenn Thomas (quarterback), Shandon Morris (receiver) and Josh Bryant (running back), the Middies scored on their first four possessions. Bryant scored on a 15-yard run and 95-yard kickoff return. Thomas hit Morris with a 59-yard touchdown pass. Angel Rivera added a 20-yard field goal.
The game changed in the second quarter when Thomas exited with a left-shoulder injury. Pads off, Thomas sported a sling on the sideline. Senior Kamari Fuller replaced him at quarterback.
Boro’s defense and the passing of quarterback Landon Palmer feuled the Panthers’ comeback.
Middletown’s Josh Bryant (5) is chased by Lincoln Troxell (40) of Springboro during Friday night’s game at CareFlight Field in Springboro. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ERIC FRANTZ
Palmer hit Eric Myers and Kameron Dickson for touchdowns of 11 and 24 yards as Boro pulled to within 23-21 with 4:28 left in the half.
Bryant returned the ensuing kickoff 88 yards to the Boro 5 where he was tackled by Bryce Carter. On fourth-and-goal from the half-yard line, Bryant was stopped in the backfield by Boro’s Lucas Windholtz.
Special teams were costly for Middletown. A botched snap led to a 16-yard loss and set up a Boro touchdown. The Middies also had a punt return for a touchdown by Morris with 1:26 left in the first half nullified by two blocks in the back. On the next play, Boro’s Josh Collins intercepted Fuller.
Timmy Keseday scored Boro’s first touchdown on a 33-yard run.
Middletown quarterback Jarrenn Thomas (8) prepares to launch a bomb toward teammate Will Williams (10) as Springboro’s Jared McCarthy defends during Friday night’s game at CareFlight Field in Springboro. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO BY ERIC FRANTZ