By Indrek Kongats
After an exciting win last Friday night under the lights against Depew, SGI looked poised to capture the Class B Section VI Chuck Funke Memorial Classic, dubbed the Funke Bowl, Thursday night against East Aurora/Holland HS. The two had matched up back on Oct. 14 with EAH coming out on top 43-16. This would be a tough contest for the Griffs and they would have to play a great game to win.
EAH drew first blood with a touchdown and single point conversion halfway through the first quarter. SGI did have an opportunity to score earlier in the quarter as No. 9, Connor O’Brien, marched his crew to the Red Zone, only to turn the ball over on a fumble. The conditions where deplorable once again; it seems the same rain cloud that played havoc on the game last week had followed the Griffs all the way to Pioneer Central HS Stadium, where the game was now being played. Driving rain and near freezing temperatures didn’t help Springville’s ball control.
Springville finally got on the score board with just 16 seconds left in the quarter. O’Brien handed off to No. 23 running back, Marcus James, who crossed the goal line for six points. Unfortunately, James was hit hard and took a few minutes to get to his feet. He was ok and continued to play. The Griffs’ attempt for a two-point conversion, failed leaving the score EAH 7, SGI 6 at the quarter’s end.
The second quarter was all EAH, scoring two touchdowns and converting on both. The Griffs were struggling and had to come up with a better game plan for the second half if they were going to stay in the game. The half ended EAH 21, SGI 6.
The driving rain didn’t let up and neither did the Blue Devils. They hammered the Griffs for two more converted touchdowns, attacking both on the ground and through the air. Finally, with a meager crowd of some 100 loyal fans urging the Griffs on, No. 24 Ian Baker ran into the end zone to put another six points on the scoreboard with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. Again, the two point conversion failed, leaving the score EAH 35, SGI 12.
The fourth quarter was more favorable for Springville as their defense finally stopped the Blue Devil scoring machine and with 3:41 left in the game. Back up quarterback No. 12, junior Matt Evans, came in to give a commanding performance and teamed up with Baker for SGI’s third and final touchdown for the game. O’Brien came in and handed off to No. 26, sophomore Jackson Richert, for a two-point conversion, giving SGI 20 points.
The Griffs played a solid game that could have gone their way if they didn’t have two costly fumbles in the first half that could have been scoring opportunities, and converted on their first two touchdowns. That was the difference in the final score— EAH 35, SGI 20. Springville will graduate O’Brien, James and Baker, but based on how several of their younger stars, including Evans, Richert and Lazarus, played, SGI supporters will have lots to cheer about next year under Coach Eric Jantzi and staff’s excellent leadership!