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Buccaneers Sports

Springfield HS Cougars Notch a Victory in Win Over Interboor

Varsity vs Springfield HS on 9/2/2011 7:30:00 PM
Posted Thursday, September 22, 2011 by Joe OLoughlin


Senior linebacker Jake Meindl (No. 20) knocks the ball loose from the Interboro ball carrier. Photo by Whitney Dougherty.

One of the more insidious trials in life  is the dreaded curse of great expectations. This is the precise gauntlet through which the 2011 Cougars must navigate.

After last year’s superlative campaign where Springfield not only was a powerful force in the always difficult Central League, but also went deep into the PIAA playoffs, the bull’s eye was painted on this year’s team.

Can they match the performance of 2010? Is this program for real?

Those heavily laden questions can only be answered one game at a time.

Well, Springfield gave a resounding response in its initial 2011 outing last Friday night, when the Cougars notched an impressive 35-21 victory over Interboro. The Bucs are the same team that narrowly defeated Springfield last year 7-6.

 In what was truly a team effort, various Cougars came up with stellar performances to turn back Interboro. From every sector there was a Springfield player coming up with one, if not several, key contributions. Tyler Morrissey was like a gridiron banshee blasting the Bucs and blunting one offensive effort after another. He was not alone in this department. Several turnovers were registered by an energetic and opportunistic defense.

Meanwhile, on offense, Rob Murphy and Ryan Strain did great work on the ground and in the air. Murphy accounted for nearly 200 yards of offense. Besides chewing up valuable real estate from the line of scrimmage (Murphy ran 117 yards on a dozen attempts) he also returned a punt 65 yards for the first of his two touchdowns.

That initial score set the tone, providing the visiting Cougars with an early 7-0 first quarter lead. Later on in first half, Murphy came up with another clutch effort.

Momentum was shifting toward Interboro. The Bucs had knotted the score at 14-14 and the home fans were getting fired up. Murphy then provided the gift of deafening silence when he scorched Interboro with a game changing 62 yard bolt of lightning to snap the deadlock.

That touchdown swung the tide back and allowed Springfield to go to the locker room with the lead and a bolstered sense of confidence.

After intermission, the Cougars showed that there was no let up in their game plan. The defense continued to thwart Interboro at every turn. The Bucs were not to score in the second half. Murphy continued to rip off runs from the line of scrimmage.

Continued efforts like this will go a long way to soften Springfield’s loss of the county’s leading rusher, Matt Craig, due to graduation.

Strain engineered several scoring drives and not only on the strength of his accurate arm (119 yards passing for his night’s work). The agile quarterback  proved his worth not only the ‘field general’ but also as a versatile running option.

Strain fired a pair of touchdown passes (both for 35 yards). The initial TD toss was a first quarter spiral directly into the waiting and willing hands of Ryan Moore which gave the Cougars a 14-7 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter.

Strain’s second was a smart scoring pass to John Wise that provided Springfield with a needed insurance score that widened the margin to two touchdowns (35-21) last in the fourth quarter.

Ironically, it was on the strength of Strain’s legs that the Cougars took the lead. The savvy signal caller took a rushing option and broke it open for a 59 yard scoring run that was a thing of beauty. Strain’s gain turned into a lot of Interboro pain as he gave Springfield a 28-21 lead it would never relinquish.

This nonleague game was perfect preparation for the Cougar’s Central League opener this week, against a tough Harriton club at their place. With defenders such as Morrissey pounding the opposition’s offense at will and Murphy and Strain getting their shots in bursting through the line, it certainly looks like Springfield’s gridiron gladiators are well on the way to making sure that 2010 was not a ‘one hit wonder’ figuratively and literally!

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