LIMA – Lima Senior has Jaden Walker. Springfield has Danny Davis and a host of other running backs that proved to be too much for the Spartans to handle as they fell to the Wildcats 35-28 Friday night.
Lima Senior falls to 2-1 on the season and Springfield improves to 2-1.
“We still had the same mentality we have had the first two games,” said Spartan head coach Andre Griffin. “We never gave up and we never gave in but we’ve got to get better. We had the game tied and we didn’t get the job done.”
Springfield’s Danny Davis, who ran for 280 yards on 34 carries, scored his second touchdown of the night when he plunged in from 2-yards out to give the Wildcats what would turn out to be the winning touchdown with 3:58 remaining in the fourth quarter.
As a team, Springfield racked up 387 yards on the ground.
Throughout the game, the Spartans had responded to the Wildcats’ scores with touchdowns of their own. However on the last drive the Spartans struggled with the two-minute offense and a Hail Mary pass from 30 yards out fell incomplete as time ran out.
One reason the Spartans struggled through much of the second half was Walker apparently not being 100 percent healthy. At the end of the first half, Walker was doubled over and sick. And at the onset of the second half he did not show up for the first series.
However, Walker gutted it out and returned after the Spartans lost the lead when Spartan quarterback Adrine Mitchell’s screen pass was picked off and run in for a touchdown by Wildcat Leonard Taylor from 51 yards out with 6:02 left in the third quarter.
Instead of Mitchell dwelling on his mistake, the junior signal caller rallied the Spartans for a game-tying touchdown early in the fourth quarter when he took over the offense with the Wildcats keying on Walker.
With his arm, and some elusive running, Mitchell guided the Spartans 80 yards in six plays for pay dirt. He capped off the drive with a 35-yard run after faking the hand off to Walker and bolting up the middle for 35 yards and the score.
In that drive Mitchell showed he was a threat that teams will have to worry about in the upcoming weeks of the season. He is not quite at the level of the elite but he did show signs of becoming another weapon for the Spartans after going 10-for-20 with 201 yards, one touchdown and one interception for the game.
Walker, who finished the first half with 77 yards, managed just 11 more in the second half. For the game he was carried 18 times for 88 yards and two touchdowns.
Springfield struck first when it methodically marched 62 yards on seven plays and entered the end zone when Shane Ramey plunged in from 2 yards out to cap off the efficient drive to grab the early 7-0 lead with 5:10 left in the first quarter.
Lima Senior responded on its next possession when it drove an identical 62 yards for the Spartans’ first score. The seven play drive, highlighted by a scrambling Mitchell throwing a 34-yard pass to Xavier Nichols that put the ball deep in Wildcat territory, and set up Walker’s first touchdown when he dove in from 2 yards out to hit pay dirt. After a successful extra point, the score was tied 7-7 with 2:21 left in the first quarter..
Springfield stormed right back to regain the lead on their next possession when the Wildcats, riding the legs of Davis and Taylor, went 78 yards in 15 plays for their second touchdown of the game. Doing the honors this time was Taylor who raced in from 6 yards out of the wildcat formation.
Throughout much of the first quarter, Walker, was getting stuffed on the run but he finally broke when he got a short pass in the flat, picked up some key blocks and then let his speed do the rest as he outran the Wildcat defenders for the touchdown. After the successful extra point the score was knotted at 14-14 with 3:21 left in the half.
But the Wildcats once again responded for their third score of the half. A big run back by Davis on the ensuing kickoff put the ball at the 45 yard line. Five plays later the Wildcats were celebrating a touchdown when Davis dove into the end zone.
But Walker, sparked by his 60 yard touchdown reception, electrified the crowd for his third touchdown of the half when on the third play from scrimmage roamed to his left, eluded one tackle, cut left and then turned on the afterburners to go 63 yards for six more points. With the extra point splitting the uprights, the two teams went into halftime deadlocked at 21-21.
Reach Jose Nogueras at 567-242-0468.