Springfield and Beavercreek each had 12 penalties; final penalty set-up Beavers’ game-winning field goal.
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield looked to be on the way to its first league win since 2011 on Friday at Evans Stadium against Beavercreek. The Wildcats led by two touchdowns in the second half, and the Beavers seemingly couldn’t stop running back Danny Davis. But costly penalties — including a final-second unsportsmanlike penalty — helped Beavercreek come back and win.
Beavercreek kicker Michael Chuck hit a 28-yard field goal as time expired to lift the Beavers to a 31-28 win over Springfield. The Wildcats saw a 21-7 lead disintegrate as they were outscored 24-7 in the final quarter and a half.
Davis caused problems for Beavercreek’s defense all night. He amassed 335 all-purpose yards and scored all four of Springfield’s touchdowns. But the Wildcats struggled to contain Beavercreek kick returner Jullian Linkhart. He returned five kickoffs for 135 yards in the game and scored a touchdown on one.
Springfield and Beavercreek each had 12 penalties for 105 and 102 yards, respectively. Many calls angered both coaching staffs and all fans in the game. Springfield police escorted the officials from the field after the game as fans booed.
No call had more impact than the final penalty of the game.
After one Beavercreek run with eight seconds left in the game, the officials stopped the clock and reset the time to 14 seconds. Springfield head coach Maurice Douglass took a few steps onto the field and yelled and pointed at the officials after the decision. He was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected.
The fifteen yard penalty moved the ball inside the 20-yard line for the Beavers. The Beavers ran up the middle on their second-to-last play and called a timeout to set-up Chuck’s field goal. The timeout was the fourth Beavercreek called in the quarter.
“You saw the game, you saw those calls,” Springfield head coach Maurice Douglass said after the game. He declined to comment further.
The penalties were far from the only factor that contributed to Springfield’s loss. Linkhart had two big returns in the second half that helped Beavercreek come back.
After Davis gave Springfield a 21-7 lead on a 30-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, Linkhart returned the ensuing kickoff to Springfield’s 11-yard line. Stone Kincer ran it in on the next play for Beavercreek to cut Springfield’s lead to one touchdown.
After Beavercreek tied the game at 21-21 late in the third, the Wildcats responded. Davis capped a four-and-a-half minute drive with 7:27 left in the fourth on a 5-yard run where he reached for the goal line while being dragged down by a Beaver defender.
Beavercreek quickly responded again thanks to Linkhart. He fielded the ensuing kickoff at Beavercreek’s 10-yard line, ran straight through several Springfield defenders, cut to the home sideline and ran untouched into the end zone. The 90-yard touchdown return with 7:13 left tied the game at 28-28.
It was a crucial win for the Beavers (6-1), who are looking to stay in the Div. I playoff hunt. It was the second win in Beavercreek’s last three games that came by less than seven points.
“I just think our guys are super-resilient,” Beavercreek head coach Nic Black said after the game. “They’re resilient. I talk to them all the time about learning to win as a program by winning on special teams, on defense and tackling well. I’m proud our guys have been resilient to the end of our games no matter what adversity comes.”
Black thought the penalties had an effect on the game but said both teams played through them.
Davis had 176 yards rushing and 89 yards receiving. Springfield had 279 total yards on offense, with 170 coming through the air. Beavercreek had all 245 offensive yards on the ground. Beavercreek running back Tim Bradshaw, who leads the league in rushing yards, ran for 92.
Many momentum turns happened throughout the game. However, the complexion of the game could have been completely changed had Beavercreek not tied the game in the third quarter.
After a quick scoring drive midway through the third to limit Springfield’s lead to 21-14, the Beavers recovered an onside kick near midfield. After slowly working the ball down to the red zone, Bradshaw took a handoff up the middle and through several Springfield defenders into the end zone. The score tied the game at 21-21 and capped off a 14-0 run for Beavercreek.
Play of the Game
Beavercreek went three-and-out on its first possession and punted to Davis. Davis fielded the ball at the 30 and ran to his left, changed direction to his right, and ran by a couple of Beavers. He then turned upfield along the home sideline, slid by other Beavercreek defenders, and went into the end zone for a touchdown. The return showcased the junior’s athletic ability and showed why he currently has scholarship offers from six schools, including Michigan State.
Beavercreek never kicked to him again. They punted out of bounds and kicked onside on every occasion after the return. Davis leads the GWOC with 1,429 all-purpose yards.
Nic Black on kicking away from Danny Davis:
“It didn’t work all the time. We had one really bad punt in the first half where we didn’t execute. But I’m okay with it. We stole one possession there (on an onside kick), and with the way our defense has played, I’m okay starting at the 50.”
- Springfield had three touchdowns called back due to penalties in the game, including two on the same drive late in the third quarter.
- Beavercreek had a touchdown pass in the first quarter called back on a block-in-the back penalty.
- Nick McCaughey replaced Saalih Muhammad at quarterback in the second half of Friday’s game for Springfield.
- Per OHSAA rules, Maurice Douglass will have to sit out Springfield’s next game as a result of being ejected on Friday.
Beavercreek travels to Centerville for a conference game next week. The Beavers will try to maintain their perfect record in the GWOC Central and pick up second-level computer points against the Elks.
Springfield travels to Fairmont next Friday. The Wildcats haven’t beat a Central opponent since 2011, when they beat the Firebirds by 9 points at Roush Stadium.