WESTFIELD TWP. — It was an emotion-filled Friday at Gene Clark Stadium, as Cloverleaf had more than football on its mind.
Last weekend, assistant coach John Sands passed away tragically in a two-vehicle accident in Northwest Ohio.
After Cloverleaf and Springfield players gathered for a moment of silence in memory of Sands, the game began. At first, the Colts were able to use their emotions to their advantage, scoring on their first drive and taking a one-touchdown lead into the fourth quarter.
But missed opportunities led to Springfield scoring 22 unanswered points to secure a 29-14 Portage Trail Conference Metro Division victory, as Hunter Riley, Noah Constantino and Zach DiLauro scored TDs in a mere 2:44 to spoil the Colts’ homecoming game.
“Honestly, this week has been just so long,” Cloverleaf coach Justin Vorhies said. “I think emotions ran out, and I think a few things happened where we didn’t score where we should’ve scored when we had the ball in their territory. Things just snowballed from there.”
While the Colts (1-6, 1-3) capitalized on two drives that penetrated Springfield (4-3, 2-2) territory, they had five more end with punts, interceptions or turnovers on downs.
Running the ball was the primary plan of attack, as quarterback Brody Stallings and back Logan Sims ran for 76 and 102 yards on 38 combined carries.
“We thought we could run the ball because we knew they were going to stack the boxes and we would have a little bit of difficulty beating their man coverage,” Vorhies said. “Aric Parks has been an all-league corner for probably his third year now, so we knew it was going to be difficult. You make the decision, ‘Do you want to stay on schedule or do you want to take a shot and get off schedule?”’
Springfield’s defense was a thorn for Stallings in the passing game, as he was 6-of-20 for 52 yards with two interceptions, one of which led to the Spartans’ final score.
“They were pretty tight on their man coverage,” Stallings said. “It was very tight and they had a safety over top, so it was hard to throw.”
Outside of the forgettable fourth quarter, there were some positives.
For one thing, the defense came up with some key stops, including a stand deep in Cloverleaf territory just before halftime to maintain a 7-7 tie.
Also, Travis Hissom had two short touchdown runs and Al Kozma returned the second-half kickoff to the Spartans 17-yard line.
“We just have to continue to stay together,” Vorhies said. “That’s been our main focus through all this: Just stay together. There’s bigger things in life that we’re dealing with right now and these guys are learning to rely on each other, stay together and enjoy each other while we have our time together.”
Contact Jake Dungan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Springfield 29, Cloverleaf 14
SPRINGFIELD 7 0 0 22 — 29
CLOVERLEAF 7 0 7 0 — 14
C —Travis Hissom 2 run (Logan Tierney kick), 7:29.
S — Demone Riley 10 pass from Paul Stubbs (Michael Simone kick), 2:38.
C — Travis Hissom 3 run (Logan Tierney kick), 9:43.
S — Hunter Riley 2 run (Simone kick), 5:59.
S — Noah Costantino 19 pass from Stubbs (Simone kick), 4:22.
S — Zach DiLauro 30 run (Costantino pass from Paul Stubbs), 3:15.