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TIGERS LOCK IN THIRD STRAIGHT TRIP TO FINAL FOUR


SALEM OH- Beau Brungard ran for 252 yards and four touchdowns as the Tigers won their 3rd straight over Mogadore, bringing the Wildcats season to a screeching halt, and delaying their return to the state semifinals.

Making the Springfield Tigers (13-1) so dangerous is not only their ability to strike quickly but the capability of their offense to grind out long sustained drives. Brungard and company put both on display to start the ball game, needing just four plays to go over 70 yards thanks to a 55-yardtouchdown run by Brungard less than two minutes into the night, then, after forcing a Mogadore three and out, Springfield methodically marched 75 yards down the field before Bo Snyder would reach pay dirt to put the Tigers ahead 14-0.

Trying to dig themselves out of a hole, Mogadore (10-3) pounded the rock on their second drive of the night, converting once on third down and twice on fourth. Taking up almost two thirds of the second quarter clock, the Wildcats capped their drive with a Mason Williams touchdown from 1 yard out.

Looking to respond, the Tigers moved the ball into Wildcats territory before coughing it up and allowing Mogadore to take over still trailing by a score. A few more successful Mogadore runs and a deep play action shot over the top put the Cats into scoring position. On fourth down with two yards to pick up the first and the ball resting on the Tigers’ four-yard line, Mogadore picked up their 3rd fourthdown conversion of the half, moving the ball to the oneyard line, later to be finished off with another Mason Williams one yard plunge.

Tied for the first time since less than two minutes into the night, Springfield’s offense would have less than two minutes to work before the end of the half, except, the offense never even stepped onto the field. The ensuing kickoff was lined on the ground, as Mogadore had done all night, and picked up by senior Nick Slike. Slike weaved his way through a few defenders before beating the Wildcats kicker in a foot race to the endzone for a 75-yard house call.

Defensively, the Tigers would come up with back-to-back stops of the Mogadore offense, one to end the first half, the other to start the second, giving the ball back to the offense looking to expand their lead one again. Brungard and company would do just that, finding pay dirt with their own one-yard touchdown run via their versatile quarterback.

Continuing to dominate defensively, the Tigers forced another Wildcat three and out but would see return man, Seandelle Gardner, muff and kick the ball back to the Wildcats right around midfield. Mogadore, as poised of a program as any in the state of Ohio, capitalized on the Tiger turnover for the second time of the night, running their own version of the “Philly Special” to move the difference back to a score.

Springfield would score twice more on the night thanks to a pair of Brungard touchdown runs from 29 and 58 yards out respectively, putting the game on ice, and capturing their third straight Region 21 title.

WHAT’S NEXT

Now back-to-back-to-back Region 21 champions, the Tigers have earned the right to represent in the state final four once again. Back in 2019 the Tigers faced off with the Region 22 representative, the East Knox Bulldogs, a game which would end in blowout fashion in favor of the Tigers, 42-14. Now in 2021, the Tigers will once again square off with a Region 22 champion, this time in the Carey Blue Devils (13-1).

Members of the Northern 10 Athletic Conference, the Carey Blue Devils have one state championship in their history, coming way back in 1975. That Blue Devils state champion team was apart of the first state playoff’s overtime anddefeated New Catholic 15-7 at the Rubber Bowl. Scoring on the opening series of overtime, the Blue Devils converted a fake field goal for a two-point conversion before forcing a Newark four and out. Prior to the night, Newark Catholic had not surrendered an offensive touchdown all season long.

The Blue Devils are long removed from their state championship however and will be making their first appearance in the state semifinals of the new century.

The Tigers and Blue Devils are set to face off at Euclid Community Stadium, this Saturday, 7:00 pm. Home to both the Euclid Panthers and Cleveland Benedictine, Euclid Community seats 6500 in a horseshoe style set up and boasts a beautiful video scoreboard.

*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson

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