ALLIANCE, Ohio –
Opening the ball game with a seven-minutescoring drive, the Springfield Tigers (12-1) welcomed the Columbia Raiders (11-2) to the regional semifinals with a bang. The Raiders, almost ten years removed from their last regional semifinal, showed their inexperience early on the offense side. Senior quarterback and three-yearcaptain, Andrew Champagne, struggled to get going early for the Raiders, and in order to keep up with the high-powered Springfield offense quarterbacked by YSU commit, Beau Brungard, you cannot afford to start slow.
Forcing the Raiders to go three and out on their opening possession, Springfield would start their second drive on their own thirty-seven-yard line. Another meticulous drive deep into Columbia took over five minutes but would end up stalling at the Raiders six-yard line, following a Springfield false start on 4th and goal from the one. Kaesen Kosek would hammer one through the uprights to expand the Tigers lead to ten.
Behind by two scores, the Raiders offense needed to get going to keep pace with Brungard’s Tigers, but the Springfield defense continued to wreak havoc and forced another three and out. Getting the ball back in more than favorable field possession after a short punt, Springfield cashed in on an exhausted Columbia defense, going fifty-eight yards in just thirty-eight seconds capped by a Brungard thirty-nine-yard touchdown pass to Nick Slike.
With seventeen minutes gone in the ballgame, the Raiders had run just six plays from scrimmage, and had yet to amass a single first down. Starting their net drive at their own thirty-five after a solid return, the Raiders would move the ball effectively down the field, led by a Champagne thirty-six-yard tout to set the Raiders up at the Springfield four yard-line.
Knocking on Springfield’s door, the Raiders would run a jet sweep on first and goal to move the ball just two yards from pay dirt before the center would rocket one back before Champagne was ready, leaving Columbia with 3rd and goal from thirty-five yards out.
Heading into the locker room ahead by three scores, the Tigers knew they just needed to keep their same intensity on both sides of the ball to get back to the Regional final and the Tigers did just that. While Columbia saw some success to start the second half, a big stop by the Tigers defenseon third and seven forced the Raiders to punt.
Starting at their own twenty-one, the Tigers took just over four minutes to go seventy-nine yards at get Brungard back into the endzone for his third score of the night. Columbia would score on the ensuing possession to try and get back into the ballgame but could not slow down the Springfield offense, as the Tigers would respond with Bo Snyder and his second touchdown of the night, again from five yards out.
Columbia would see Champagne connect with Owen Menge in the endzone on their final drive of the night to move the scoring line where it would end, 30-13.
Beau Brungard: 6-10, 69 passing yards, 245rushing yards, 3 total TDs
Bo Snyder: 11 carries, 84 rushing yards, 2 TD
Nick Slike: 2 catches, 47 receiving yards, 1 TD
Andrew Champagne: 6-14, 131 passing yards, 77 rushing yards, 2 total TDs
Owen Menge: 89 all purpose yards, 1 receiving TD
Cody Davis: 3 catches, 54 receiving yards
Springfield: In a post season already riddled with rematches, the Tigers are now instore for Springfield vs. Mogadore V. The third straight year in which these two schools will face off in the postseason, the Tigers will carry with them a two-game winning streak against the Mogadore Wildcats (10-3). Currently, the all-time series between these two programs is 2 all.
Columbia: Unfortunately for the Raiders of Columbia Station their historic season has now come to an end. Reaching the third round of the playoffs for the first time in program history, the Raiders still fall short of their inaugural regional final bid due to the expansion.
*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson