Springfield trailed Hilliard Darby 27-6 with two minutes left in the game.
HILLIARD — Springfield showed flashes of potential against Hilliard Darby on Friday night. But as has been the case many times over the last five seasons, flashes didn’t win the game. Darby won 34-22 and stretched Springfield’s losing streak against Division I opponents to 26 games.
Springfield tallied 367 yards on offense in the game, but its defense couldn’t stop Darby’s rushing attack. The Panthers methodically ate time off the clock and scored on big runs. They rushed for 369 yards and attempted only one pass. And though Springfield’s offense had some success, most of it didn’t come until less than two minutes left in the game.
“We look good and execute on one play but then we don’t on the next play,” Douglass said. “We’ve got to try to get better on the execution. And keep fighting. Like I told the kids, it’s a 48-minute game. Until the last second is off the clock, we need to keep fighting. We’re going to get better. We are getting better and getting closer, but we’re not good enough. We still need to fix mistakes.”
Darby led 27-6 with less than three minutes left in the game. Springfield’s offense (and in particular Danny Davis) put on a show in the game’s final seconds.
Saalih Muhammad found Davis on a short pass with just under two minutes left, and the junior receiver danced his way around Darby defenders for a 21-yard touchdown. The duo hooked up on another pass a minute later, and Davis cut through defenders for a 36-yard score. The Wildcats made two-point conversions after each touchdown on passes to Nick McCaughey and Harlan Singleton.
Though Springfield looked good on offense in the last two minutes, its defense looked vulnerable. Between Davis’ touchdown receptions, Darby’s Kyle Colvin took a routine handoff up the middle by several Springfield defenders and scored on a 49-yard run.
“Danny’s one of the best players in the Midwest,” Douglass said. “He’s a top-25 guy in Ohio. We know he’ll make big plays for us. But (as) we’re trying to come back, we slip up (on defense). We’ve got to execute for a full 48 minutes. I believe we can play like we did at the end for a full game, but we’ve got to work harder and get better.”
The game’s tone was set early. On Darby’s first play, quarterback Nick Powers faked a handoff and ran toward the visiting sideline. He passed several Springfield defenders and sprinted down the sideline for a 63-yard score.
“We still had enough time to come back after that, so I don’t think it hurt us too bad,” Douglass said of Powers’ run. “Our thing is we just have to continue to execute. We’ve got to get better on our execution offensively, defensively and on special teams. We’ve got to trust each other on our assignments.
“On that play, one of our outside linebackers who was responsible for the quarterback did not take him. They ended up gassing us on it. We had two young guys who were playing on the secondary to that side. One of them got on the inside too much, and the kid bounced by him on the sideline.”
The ‘Cats will now focus on another tough rushing opponent. Miamisburg travels to Springfield next Friday for a GWOC crossover game. The Vikings run the Wing-T and are led on offense by a strong line. The offensive line is led by Ohio State recruit Josh Myers, who is ranked by many scouting services as the nation’s top junior lineman.
The Vikings have had much success running the ball in their first three games. They’ve accumulated 960 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns. Miamisburg beat Springfield by 30 points last season.
Douglass says Springfield will try to learn from its mistakes against Darby and use the lessons to stop Miamisburg’s running attack.
“We have to do better at tackling,” Douglass said. “We’ve got to do a better job with our defensive line and linebackers. We have to tackle on the perimeter when they try to run the buck sweep. We’ve got to take care of our jobs and our responsibilities.”