Springfield romps past Lancaster in opener

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Springfield QB Leonard Taylor utilized some new weapons like WR Caleb Johnson as the Wildcats crushed Lancaster in Week 1. Taylor accounted for 4 TDs.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Springfield opened the football season with a 55-21 road romp in Lancaster on Friday night.

The Golden Gales struck first, then it was all Wildcats, who scored 34 straight points from late in the first quarter to early in the third to take control.

Quarterback Leonard Taylor starred for Springfield, running for a touchdown and throwing for three more. The senior finished with 254 yards on 17-for-28 passing.

“My offensive line was working for me,” he said. “The receivers were working for me. I just had to do my part to deliver the ball and you see the success at the end of the night.”

Caleb Johnson, who transferred from Trotwood-Madison in the offseason, caught five passes for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his Springfield debut.

Lancaster, a playoff team the last two seasons, had no answer for Springfield’s speed on the perimeter.

“I thought that with all of our pieces, we would do a great job on the perimeter,” Wildcats coach Maurice Douglass said. “I thought we had an advantage. The fact we had to play on this grass was kind of tough, but all we wanted to do was try to take advantage of our guys in space.”

Taylor got the scoring started for the Wildcats when he bulled in from two yards out in the first quarter.

Braeden Carey’s PAT kick tied the score at 7 and capped a 66-yard scoring drive on which a pair of long Springfield plays were called back on illegal blocks.

Midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats got their spread passing game going as Taylor and Johnson hooked up three times on a 65-yard scoring drive. The last was a 50-yard deep post in which Johnson got behind two Golden Gales to haul in a rainbow throw from Taylor.

The Springfield Wildcats listen to coach Maurice Douglass after their 55-21 rout of Lancaster in Week 1 of the 2017 high school football season. MARCUS HARTMAN/STAFF
The Springfield Wildcats listen to coach Maurice Douglass after their 55-21 rout of Lancaster in Week 1 of the 2017 high school football season. MARCUS HARTMAN/STAFF

For a moment it looked as if Johnson began celebrating too soon, but the official ruled he crossed the goal line before dropping the ball.

Four plays after intercepting a Lancaster pass, the Wildcats struck again when Taylor found Jahemrinn Echols from 22 yards out to make it 21-7 with 2:53 left in the first half.

Echols had a defender draped on him but managed to haul in the pass as he dove into the end zone.

That all came after the first break of the game went to the hosts when a Lancaster punt hit the back of a Springfield player and bounced back toward the line of scrimmage.

The Golden Gales recovered at the Springfield 39 and went to the air on first down. Tyler Monk connected with Eddie Beekman for a 29-yard gain that got the hosts down to the 10-yard line.

Lancaster fumbled at the 1 but Monk recovered in the end zone for the first touchdown of the night.

Springfield started the second half hot, tacking on two quick touchdowns.

After Jeff Tolliver sprinted untouched down the visitors sideline for a 59-yard score, Johnson took a direct snap and scored on a 1-yard run to make it 34-7.

After Lancaster put together a long scoring drive, the Wildcats struck again when Taylor connected with Johnson on a beautiful fade pass Johnson hauled in while diving in the back of the end zone.

He made the catch despite pass interference being called, and Carey’s kick made it 41-14 with 2:11 left.

Tavion Smoot activated the running clock early in the fourth quarter when he took an I-formation handoff and burst through the left side of the line for a 79-yard touchdown.

Ja’Sha-Meik Button capped the scoring for Springfield with a 13-yard run midway through the fourth quarter.