NEW MIDDLETOWN, Ohio (WKBN) –
The top-seeded Springfield Tigers were efficient in all three phases of the game Friday night as they utilized a pounding rushing attack, along with a tenacious defense and crisp special teams play to sweep the eighth-seeded Western Reserve Blue Devils with a 34-7 win in a DVI Region 21 playoff game. The Tigers beat the Devils by a similar 35-14 score back on October 25th.
The Tigers rushed for 269 yards on the night while holding the Devils to just 69 rushing yards. Leading the way for the Tigers was tailback David Duvall with 152 yards on 14 carries and a touchdown, while quarterback Beau Brungard added 78 yards on 13 carries and one score.
“It was huge. I mean for the seniors it’s our last game playing at home forever, so it was very special to win this game,” Duvall remarked on the victory.
Meanwhile, Tigers kicker and punter Clay Medvec celebrated his birthday by booting two field goals and pinning the Devils inside their own 20-yard line on kickoffs. He also punted twice for a 44.5-yard average, flipping field position.
“We’re really good up on the line. Pinning them deep really helps us,” Medvec stated. “It’s a big part of the game.”
“In the playoffs, those yards count,” Tigers head coach Sean Guerriero said of Medvec’s deep kickoffs and punting on the night. “Those are hidden kind of yards, but he is definitely a weapon for us. His kicking abilities are unbelievable.”
The Tigers scored on their second possession of the night when they drove to the Blue Devils 19-yard line. But faced with a fourth and five situation, Medvec booted a 36-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead with 3:56 remaining in the first quarter.
The Tigers would build a 13-0 advantage at intermission as Duval would blast through the middle of the Devils defensive line and raced 29 yards for a score with 11:24 left in the half. Medvec would add a 22-yard field goal with 3:55 remaining in the quarter after a long drive stalled at the Devils 5-yard line.
“They out quicked us,” Devils head coach Andy Hake admitted. “They had some real quick guys and their line did a good job sustaining blocks.”
The Tigers seized the momentum to start the second half as they forced the Devils into a quick three and out and then taking advantage of a drive starting at the Devils 41, they scored just two plays later. Following a 37-yard run by Duval, Brungard would take it the final 4-yards to pay dirt to give the Tigers a 20-0 lead with 9:28 remaining in the third quarter.
“They are a fast, high powered offense,” Devils senior Jimmy Mayberry remarked about the Tigers offense. “They have good backs and Brungard is a great player. He runs hard and their line blocks well.”
The Blue Devils made a desperate charge midway through the third quarter as they marched 64-yards culminating in a 35-yard pass from quarterback Nick Cavoulas to a wide-open Hunter Kiesewetter to cut the deficit down to 20-7. That touchdown came with 3:50 left in the quarter.
It looked like the Devils might score again when their defense came up with an interception of Brungard at the Tigers 37, but they would fumble the ball away two plays later, giving the ball back to the Tigers.
The Tigers would score touchdowns on their next two possessions to close any hope the Devils had of making a come back. The first was a 3-yard pass from Brungard to Garrett Walker in the right corner of the end zone with 9:19 left, and then fullback Chris Shoemaker would blast in from 4-yards out with just 3:30 remaining in the contest.
The Blue Devils, who close the season with an 8-3 record were led by Cavoulas with 27 yards rushing on 9 carries while completing 6 of 15 passes for 43 yards and a touchdown.
“Our program is a very proud program,” Hake said. “Our kids play like this every year. To beat us you have to play hard. We don’t lose to team that don’t play hard. And that team (Springfield) plays hard. A lot of credit to them. I hope they win the whole thing.”
“We had a great season. We had a tight bond between the seniors and the whole team. Every day we showed up to practice and enjoyed each other’s company,” Mayberry said of his Blue Devil teammates.
WESTERN RESERVE 0-0-7-0=7
SP – Clay Medvec 36 Field Goal
SP – David Duvall 29 run (Medvec Kick)
SP – Medvec 22 Field Goal
SP – Beau Brungard 4 run (Medvec Kick)
WR – Hunter Kiesewetter 35 pass from Nick Cavoulas (Brock Miller Kick)
SP – Garret Walker 3 pass from Brungard (Medvec Kick)
SP – Chris Shoemaker 4 run (Medvec Kick)
Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.