Springfield bounces back from first loss, thumps Springboro

SPRINGFIELD – There’s bouncing back from a difficult loss and then there’s the here-we-come-GWOC message that Springfield sent Friday night.

The Wildcats did whatever they wanted against a hot Springboro team and Bryce Schondelmyer wowed the homecoming crowd with five deep touchdown passes in a 54-14 victory to reassert themselves as the team to beat in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.

Last week the Division I 10th-ranked Wildcats (5-1, 3-1 GWOC) lost 24-21 to Fairmont.

“Oh yeah, we bounced back for sure,” said Schondelmyer, who threw for a career-high 492 yards. “In football, you’ve got to wait a whole week, so we’ve just been thinking about that loss. And we came out here and played great.”

Their thoughts for now, at least until they start preparing for No. 6 Centerville, will be about the night Schondelmyer and his receivers had, the best rushing night of the season and a defense that kept Springboro’s offense off the field.

Schondelmyer threw touchdown passes of 60, 37 and 33 yards to star receiver Anthony Brown. He also hit Daylen Bradley for 52 yards and Da’Shawn Martin for 45 yards. The touchdowns represented 227 of the passing yards. The Wildcats also played most of the game without Shawn Thigpen, who left after being injured on a reception.

Brown is the highly recruited receiver in the room, but he was able to get open deep on two post routes and one go route because the safeties couldn’t ignore the other receivers.

“It’s a blessing really,” Brown said of the receiver depth. “In our receiver room we have a lot of competition. We all hold ourselves to a high standard.”

Schondelmyer completed 22 of 30 and now has 22 touchdowns and 1,869 yards in six games. His previous career high in yards in a game was 425 as a sophomore at Arcanum.

The Wildcats also had their first 100-yard rushing night with 123 for a total offensive output of 615 yards. Jayvin Norman was the workhorse and scored on runs of 3 and 4 yards. The young offensive line of one senior, three sophomores and a freshman played a big role, too. Springfield coach Maurice Douglass said that group is starting to play more like an experienced line.

“It gives us more balance where people can just – they can drop eight if they want to, you can drop nine if you want – but Bryce is making good decisions with the ball and we’re not so much trying to blow the lid off every play,” Douglass said.

Except when Schondelmyer and Brown – or any other receiver – see what they saw on film that tells them they have one-on-one coverage. Then it is time to go deep.

“You got the top receiver in the state, one of the top receivers in the country, you gotta take a shot to him,” Schondelmyer said. “Our guys just did a great job and we had a lot of time to throw. It’s a credit to the offensive linemen.”

Springboro (5-2, 3-1) was coming off an upset of Centerville and was the only 3-0 team in the GWOC and cracked the state top 10 for the first time at No. 9. Now Springfield, Springboro, Centerville and Wayne are all 3-1.

“The better football team won tonight,” Springboro coach Ryan Wilhite said. “Those guys are really, really good and we saw a lot of those things on film. We were on a high after beating Centerville and wanting to play this game, but we’ll regroup and we’ll be back. There’s still a lot opportunity to play for in the league and postseason.”

Springfield’s defense set the tone with five three-and-outs in the first half and made dual-threat quarterback Evan Ruzzo grind for every first down. Douglass expected the defense to play well, just as it has in recent games against Springboro.

“Because of that, it put us in positions to go out on offense and make plays,” Douglass said.

The loss to Fairmont was unexpected and stands out, but the week before Douglass was unhappy with his team’s play in a 49-17 victory over last-place Beavercreek.

“It was a two-week thing,” he said. “Sometimes when you’ve had success, and you have new people in the new positions, they don’t know how to handle it. It’s about the grind. Every day is a workday. And sometimes you get a little complacent when you have some success, and last week it surfaced all the way because we didn’t finish some things that we were supposed to.”

The Wildcats played to the finish Friday. With six seconds left, star cornerback Aaron Scott returned an interception for near midfield for a touchdown.

Bounce back complete.

About the Author