In a defensive struggle, it only takes on spark to ignite an offense. Neither Springfield or Wissahickon scored in the first half of their Suburban One American clash, but Josh Smith came in for the Trojans and changed the game.
Led by Smith's dual-threat second half, Wissahickon scored a pair of touchdowns that was good enough to top the Spartans 14-0. Although Springfield played solid defense throughout the game, Smith broke open a couple of huge runs to put the Trojans in position to score. It wasn't the prettiest game you'll see, but Smith proved the difference in a defensive contest.
"Springfield came out and played a great game, but fortunately our defense stayed strong,' Wissahickon coach Jeff Cappa said. "As good a running game as they had, which we knew they would, our defense played really well against it. It was nice that we were able to punch in a couple of times offensively, but our defense really came through for us tonight.'
After triple-threat offensive machine David Stellato went down earlier in the game, Wissahickon was looking for someone to step up and lead the visitors to victory. Smith answered that call, rushing for 174 yards and a third-quarter touchdown. Smith broke out for six runs of 10 or more yards and two for 35 or more. His effective dashes in the second half seemed to throw off a solid Spartans defense.
"I have to give it up to my line. They blocked hard and I ran hard,' Smith said. "Dave Stellato got hurt and I was just filling in for him. It's a really big win for us. We just have to keep going forward and working hard.'
In a game where scoring was rare, Wissahickon did all it could to scratch out a couple of touchdowns. The Trojans actually missed a pair of field goals, but interestingly enough, scored a touchdown in the third. In the fourth quarter, placekicker Neal Guaglianone, who also plays for the soccer team, had his attempt blocked, but scooped up the loose ball and ran in for six points. It was an unlikely touchdown from an unlikely source in a strange game.
"Our kids answered the bell defensively,' Springfield coach Chris Shelly said. "Even offensively, we had a few long plays downfield, we just didn't get in the end zone. We were only down 7-0 and we block a field goal, it happens to bounce right back to the kid and he scores. We could have easily picked that up and run it back for a touchdown. I don't like moral victories, but our kids worked really hard.'
The game was even throughout, but the parity was at its height in the first half. Springfield running back Martin Worgan had 84 yards on 18 rushes in the first two quarters, providing the majority of the Spartans offense. It appeared that Wissahickon was having some trouble stopping Worgan early on, but the Springfield offense never took full advantage. Despite numerous drives down field, they could never punch it in and that cost them later on when Worgan was not as effective.
"I don't know if they shut Martin down, but they made some plays on him in the second half,' Shelly said. "We weren't holding our blocks as well and we got tired. Our kids put everything they had into this game. The game was right where we wanted it in the first half, we just couldn't keep it up.'
In the end, neither team really played that well, but the individual battle of Smith and Worgan was won by Smith, if for no other reason than that he was a threat to throw the football. Smith connected on two long passes in the first half, enough to make the Trojans respect his arm. Wissahickon took advantage of that all night and it resulted in a league victory.
"Our guys did really well tonight,' Cappa said. "Josh ran really hard. A lot of football is heart and effort and these guys showed a lot of that in this game.'
Wissahickon 0 0 7 7—14
Springfield 0 0 0 0—0
W: Smith 5 run (Brunner kick)
W: Guaglianone 12 run (Brunner kick)
First Downs 10 9
Rusing Yards 223 114
Passing Yards 58 28
Total Yards 281 142
Fumbles/lost 1-0 1-1
Punts 1-40.0 2-30.0
Penalties 6-55 2-10
Wissahickon: Smith 22-174, TD; Stellato 6-43, Laracuente 2-2, Marino 3-6, Oliphant 1-(2).
Springfield: Worgan 23-103, Doyle 10-11.
Wissahickon: Smith 2-4 46, Marino 2-3, 12.
Springfield: Doyle 2-6, 28
Wissahickon: Laracuente 1-36, Gorman 1-10, Olivares 1-7, Byrd 1-5.
Springfield: Khalif Hopkins-Bay 1-21, Khalil Hopkins-Bay 1-7. Totals: 2-28