By T. J. Oakley
The parking lot was filled both in front and behind Springville Griffith High School. Cars lined the driveway from the bus circle down past the Eaton Street parking lot and down the side streets. Perfect weather and courteous volunteers were there to greet the spectators as we all entered Pop Warner field to watch our beloved Springville Griffins.
With a record of 1-1, Springville was coming off of a gut-wrenching, one-point loss to Section 6 AA Frontier. As the team began to warm up prior to kickoff, it was clear the Griffins had a mutual chip on their shoulder. While the opponent gathered in various clusters, awaiting individual announcement of the defensive starters, the boys in purple and gold looked on together, arms locked in unison as they were to be announced as a team. Both teams stood proud, along with the attending spectators and staff, for a beautiful singing of our national anthem. As the players took the field for opening kickoff, the stadium lights gleamed, and a full harvest moon helped paint the dimming sky.
Pioneer’s Panthers were the opponent saddled with the task of having to compete with the recently scorned Griffins squad, making the short drive down Route 39 from Arcade. The Panthers had entered the evening coming off a 50-43 victory against East Aurora, and had reason to be hopeful. Their game plan seemed to be run-heavy, much like the Griffins, but the results would be far different. Pioneer won the coin toss, and the Griffins took over from there.
The Griffs scored three touchdowns on their first three drives, and added six more points with successful conversion attempts. Soon after, Ian Baker tackled a Panther in the opponent’s end zone, adding two more points. The first half ended with Springville up 26-0, with FB/LB No. 24 Ian Baker accounting for all of the points on the board. Pioneer was incapable of getting the run game going, due to some stout defensive efforts by various Springville players. One particularly outstanding Griffin this evening, was OL/DL No. 70 Austin Coon, with numerous hits on run attempts up the middle. These plays sent loud cheering from the home team echoing throughout the field, and the opponent coaches decided to recalculate their strategy. The defensive line play in this game was top notch for the Griffins, and made it nearly impossible for Pioneer to drive past mid field.
RB/DB No. 23 Marcus James displayed speed and quickness that was unmatched by any player on the field. OL/DL No. 35 Lexus Pollard got a sack, and was a constant nuisance to the opponent, easily controlling one or more blockers at a time. In total, Baker had four rushing touchdowns, multiple tackles, and an onside kick that utilized his collegiate leg strength, blasting the kick directly into an unsuspecting Panther player, the football bouncing free for the Griffs to recover. Everything went right for the Griffins under the lights on Friday evening, except for a trick play by Pioneer, which led to Panthers WR throwing a 70+ yard touchdown. The Springville Griffins varsity football team concluded the match with a 40-7 victory, and are now 2-1, and 2-0 in league play.
Next on the Griffins schedule is away; on Friday, Sept. 23, they will be facing the Olean Huskies at Bradner Stadium, starting at 7 p.m. Springville’s triple-option offense will have their hands full in this game, as the Huskies are 3-0 and have only surrendered 26 points total from their first three games. This game will be a big test for the team and a win will certainly continue to put this season on the right track.