Springfield caps regular season with lopsided win over Beavercreek

Two weeks ago Jokell Brown was in a walking boot, recovering from a stress fracture in his right shin. Now the stress is on opposing offenses.

Brown is a disruptive force on Springfield’s stout defensive line again. In his season debut last week, he had two sacks in a 41-0 win over Springboro. On Friday, he helped lead a shutout effort as the Wildcats dominated Beavercreek 76-0 on the final night of the Covid-shortened regular season.

Brown, a 6-foot, 283-pound junior, said the injury dates to last season. An X-ray this summer finally revealed the reason for the pain. He thought he would miss the entire season.

“I thank God for real,” he said. “I’m just happy to be out there with my brothers. They wanted me to play. I came back early and made a big impact. And now we’ve gotten to where we want to be.”

The Wildcats (5-1) are ranked No. 10 in the state Associated Press poll and will roll into the expanded playoffs with back-to-back shutouts at 7 p.m. Friday at home as the No. 3 seed in Division I, Region 2. The opponent is No. 14 seed Toledo Whitmer, a team that runs the spread and favors a balanced attack.

Getting to where they want to be, as Brown said, is about the attitude shift that came after losing to Northmont. The Wildcats got off to a 3-0 start, winning by a touchdown each time. They led Northmont by 21 points before falling in overtime. The close games and the humbling loss were a wakeup call.

“We know not to let off on people and stay humble and play a complete game,” Brown said.

Quarterback Te’Sean Smoot said, “It just shows us that we’ve got to work and take no plays off.”

The Wildcats have done what they were supposed to do the past two weeks. They held Springboro to two rushing yards in a game that wasn’t expected to be so lopsided. Against Beavercreek (0-6), the Wildcats played a complete game against a clearly outmanned opponent. The Beavers gave up 70 points for the third time this season.

Anthony Brown and Dovon Williams returned punts for touchdowns, covering 66 and 53 yards, respectively. Smoot threw for 165 yards and five touchdowns, all to different receivers (Ben Van Noord, Robert Jordan, Shawn Thigpen, Dominic Turner, Anthony Brown). Sophomore running back Tyron Barnes made his first start and rushed for 64 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown.

“There’s a bunch of playmakers on my team that I can throw the ball to, a lot of people that can get open,” Smoot said. “I like the speed, the chemistry that we’ve got, the way that we can move around in different formations and get people in different spots.”

The Wildcats scored 41 second-quarter points and led 69-0 at halftime. Interceptions by Delian Bradley, Vincent Fisher, Kendal Dolby and Jaivian Norman set up touchdowns. The Wildcats needed only 22 offensive plays in the first half. They ran 21 special-teams plays (11 kickoffs, 10 extra-points) and scored on two Beavercreek punts.

The focus, Smoot says, required at playoff time will be there this week. It would be tempting to look ahead a week to a second-round rematch with either Wayne or Centerville. Those two teams play at Wayne on Friday. The Wildcats held on to beat Wayne 21-14 in the season opener, then beat Centerville 31-24 in overtime the next week.

“I think we’re very ready,” Smoot said. “We’re going to come in tomorrow and watch film on the team that we’ve got next week. Come in Monday for practice and be ready to grind, going for Friday to be prepared.”

Now that Brown is back at the front of the defense with Tywan January, Malik Woods and Bryce Walker, he’s forgotten about that boot.

“I’m looking forward to going all the way and win the ring,” he said. “That’s the main goal. That’s what we’ve been preaching since the summer.”

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