Bucking the norm, Springboro has pushed its perfect start to the high school football season in the most unlikely way.
Among the returning parts from two seasons of playoff-less frustration, Springboro had senior quarterback Landon Palmer in place. In the preseason, junior Mikey Appel also passed the Panthers’ QB challenge.
Both were key in an impressive 37-14 Week 2 defeat of host Middletown at Barnitz Stadium on Friday night.
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“A lot of times, when you think about two quarterbacks, you think about two guys who bring different things to the table,” Springboro coach Ryan Wilhite said. “These guys are seamless. It’s so unusual. Most people say, if you got two guys, that means you got no guy. That is not this.”
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With Palmer and Appel generating more than 400 yards of offense, Springboro easily trumped its opening 34-7 win at Mason by taking out another Greater Miami Conference member and running its record to 2-0. The loss spoiled Middletown’s home opener following an equally impressive 49-0 Week 1 shutout win at Cincinnati Western Hills.
Middletown, in the midst of a major program rebuild under second-year coach Don Simpson, has a more conventional single signal-caller in junior Kamari Fuller. His 64-yard touchdown strike to equally talented junior Josh Bryant less than a minute after the opening kickoff whipped the Middies’ faithful into a frenzy.
Then reality, Springboro’s interchangeable QBs, and a 31-0 Panthers’ run took over.
“We’re young and that’s what happens when you’re rebuilding a program,” said Simpson of the Middies, who won just three combined games in the previous three seasons. “You’re not going to have a lot of guys with experience. We’re not quite there.”
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Fuller also had a 59-yard scoring bomb to Tre Calhoun with less than a minute left in the third quarter to pull within 31-14 and rekindle the Middies’ hopes.
Appel answered with his second TD heave to Titan Case, covering 37 yards to close the scoring. Appel also hit Case on a 12-yarder to put Springboro up 17-7 at halftime. Appel also had an 11-yard scoring run.
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Palmer did his part, overcoming an opening-series interception by hitting Willieon Yates with a 20-yard scoring pass. Emerging junior running back Moise Armbruster added a 15-yard run to pull Springboro even at 7-all and Matt Dapore hammered a 27-yard field goal.
“We’re both doing the job when we need to and we’re both working hard,” Appel said of the dual QB role. “We’re both stepping up and doing what we’re told.”
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Springboro is coming off two straight 5-5 seasons after failing to break through the grip Miamisburg, then Northmont had on the Greater Western Ohio Conference National West Division. Now, Boro is the only 2-0 team in the revamped GWOC National Division, which includes Trotwood-Madison, Lebanon, Burg and Northmont, all at 1-1.
“We’ve got a team that is believing in themselves,” Wilhite said. “There’s a huge challenge in the GWOC right now, with the way this league is changing. We’ve talked about, well, where do we fit in? We tell our guys, the best thing about being 2-0 is the opportunity to be 3-0. We embrace the challenge.”
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