EUCLID, Ohio –
Attempting to return to the Division VI state title game for the third straight season, Beau Brungard and the Springfield Tigers (13-2) traveled to Euclid Community Stadium to faceoff with the #1 ranked Carey Blue Devils (14-1).
On the shore of Lake Erie, conditions of this ballgame played right into the hands of Carey. Snowfall had accumulated on the field well before play had started and only continued to get worse throughout the night.
Carey’s hardnosed smash mouth brand of football is even more grueling on a defense in the cold. With their gargantuan offensive line clearing holes for their bruising 265 pound back, Jordan Vallejo, Vallejo was able to punish the Tigers second level for much of the night. Carey totaled over 300 yards on the ground, picking up 19 first downs, and controlling the time of possession.
While Carey was moving bodies on the offensive side, they were also wreaking havoc in the Springfield backfield. Although the Tigers scored in the first half thanks to a patented Beau Brungard 80-yard touchdown run, the Tigers failed to pick up a single first down in the half, sending them into the break trailing 13-6.
Coming out of the locker room with the ball, the Tigers looked to put the ball in the air. After a quick three-yard completion to Aaron Groner to start the second half, Springfield was finally able to pick up their first first-down of the ballgame thanks to a defensive pass interference call with Brungard looking to find junior receiver, Seandelle Gardner.
Despite the penalty, the Blue Devils defense would force Beau Brungard into a 4th and short situation that Coach Guerrero would opt to go for it but would see his senior quarterback stopped well shy of the yard to gain. Carey would promptly smash their way down the field and into the endzone to make it a two-score game for the first time of the night.
The ensuing kickoff saw Nick Slike have his second big kickoff return in as many weeks, fielding this one around the 10-yard line before taking it to the Carey 25. A quick hitter to Slike for a gain of 5 followed by a Brungard keeper for 8 saw the Tigers achieve their first traditional first-down with 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter. The very next play, Brungard would keep it around the right edge for the score from 12 yards out.
Carey’s ensuing possession would chew up 5 minutes of clock and end in a touchdown run from 15 yards out thanks to Jordan Vallejo.
Springfield looking to respond with a little over 10 minutes remaining needed to score quickly trailing in this two-possession ballgame. A quick hitter once again to start the drive saw the Tigers pick up a quick first down before Brungard looked to take the top off the Carey defense with a beautiful ball that would sail right through the arms of Jake Joyce. The very next play, Brungard would put the ball on the ground for Carey to recover.
The Blue Devils would pound their way to the goalline before eventually being stopped short of the endzone, but the job had already been done. The Blue Devils chewed up 8 minutes of the fourth quarter clock leaving Springfield with no time to respond and securing Carey’s first state championship appearance since they won it back in 1975.
*Contributed By YSN’s Jamie Thomson