By Tim Oakley
On Sept. 8, 2017 at 7 p.m., Pop Warner Field will welcome the 2017 Springville Griffins Varsity football team. The lights will turn on as the sun sets behind the trees. Ten-year-olds wearing SGI football jerseys will be weaving in and out of others heading to their seats. The snack shacks will be keeping us fed and the smell of a nearby backyard fire will undoubtedly fill the air. Thirty-three young men have practiced and trained throughout the summer preparing for their chance to represent the Purple and Gold; the friends and family will gather and the great hallmark of Varsity football will begin its next chapter.
This season’s team is retooled and moving forward under a new, yet familiar, Head Coach. After spending the last two seasons as the Griffins’ Defensive Coordinator, this year’s Varsity team is now led by Head Coach Robert Valenti. Valenti also acted as Head Coach for the Griffins to finish out the 2013 season and for the entirety of the 2014 season. During that first stint leading the team, the Griffins amassed a record of 8-3. Much like former Coach Jantzi, Valenti runs a Flexbone triple option offense. This scheme is run heavy and strongly relies on keeping the defense off balance. Each play has a number of possible ball carriers. This game plan has helped the Griffins compile over 10,000 yards in offense and averaged nearly 35 points a game over the past few seasons.
The season started last Friday, Sept. 1 in Albion, where the Griffins played Section 6 B-2 rival Purple Eagles. Springville opened with a lead, but the game ended up with seven lead changes. After each team moved the ball down the field successfully, Albion took a small lead into halftime. The Griffins came out strong in the 2nd half and RB Jeremy Baker reached the end zone multiple times as the team built an 8-point lead. Then, with less than 3 minutes remaining in the contest, Albion RB Harrison ran 13 yards around the outside for a game tying touchdown.
In the ensuing drive, Springville was forced into a 3 and out. With under a minute to go, the Griffins punted the ball down field where Albion’s JaQuess Harrison awaited. After his first few steps, it was clear he wasn’t going to be stopped– Springville saw their season opener end in a loss on Special Teams.
Tonight’s home opener is against the Dunkirk Marauders. Dunkirk enters town on the heels of a strong victory in Depew by a score of 21-19 for their home opener. Last year, the Marauders beat the Griffins 40-6 in Springville. Dunkirk has four Seniors returning to their team that scored touchdowns in last year’s contest.
Welcome Back Pre-Game Celebration
Friday, Sept. 8, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
Practice Fields – Behind Springville High School
The entire Springville Community is invited to join us for this opportunity to kick off the new school year and to build school and community spirit!
Music • Food • Games • Face Painting
Come Early! The first 200 people to
arrive will receive a gift.
At 7 p.m., cheer on the Springville Griffins
Varsity Football Team as they take on the
Dunkirk Marauders in their 2017 Home Opener.