One big play pushes Spring Grove past South Western
Spring Grove sophomore Braden Brandt carried the ball 32 times for 100 yards and scored the game's only touchdown in the Rockets' 7-0, season-ending victory against South Western.
Friday's YAIAA Division I clash at the Corral was played only for pride and the chance to finish the year at 5-5. It was a big difference from 2015, when the Rockets' 28-21 win put them into the district playoffs and denied the Mustangs a chance to share the division title.
"Even though we aren't going to the playoffs, we had a lot to fight for tonight," Spring Grove coach Kyle Sprenkle said. "We talked all week about wanting to send our seniors out with a win."
"There's always more on the line between these two teams than the records that we have," South Western coach Damian Poalucci said. "We didn't capitalize on a few chances that we had and they hit on a big play that set up their score."
Poalucci was speaking of a 72-yard gain by Collin Reed that put the Rockets in business at the South Western 8-yard line following a missed 25-yard field goal attempt by the hosts.
On the first play after Wes Sneeringer's field goal try went wide to the left, Spring Grove quarterback Jake Messersmith found Reed on a quick slant and Reed took the ball all the way across the field and down the right sideline before being caught from behind.
Two plays later, Brandt went off guard for a 7-yard touchdown with 4:27 left until halftime.
"Braden has fought through some injuries this year," Sprenkle said. "He's a tough kid and he runs hard."
South Western (4-6, 3-4) had a chance to tie the game late in the fourth quarter when it took over at its own 47 with 3:13 to play. However, the Mustangs ran three plays and punted back to the visitors, who gained a first down on a trio of Brandt runs and then knelt the clock out as South Western called its final two timeouts trying to get the ball back.
Spring Grove (5-5, 3-4) gained 265 yards of offense and nine first downs and held the Mustangs to 120 yards and five first downs.
Spring Grove _0_7_0_0 - _7
South Western _0_0_0_0 - _0
SG - Braden Brandt 7 run (Drew Gordon kick) 4:27
First Downs _9_5
Passing Yards _166_51
Total Yards _265_120
Rushing - Spring Grove, Brandt 32-100, Eric Glass 2-0, Jake Messersmith 5-(-1). South Western, Delunche Shaw 15-48, Desean Crump 4-13, Josh Higdon 3-13, Drew Hartlaub 7-11, Teian Moore 1-7, Sean Wolfe 4-(-23).
Passing - Spring Grove, Messersmith 4-10-166-1. South Western, Wolfe 4-9-51-0.
Receiving - Spring Grove, Connor Reed 3-149, Brady Stein 1-17. South Western, Moore 1-26, Brandon Zumbrum 1-17, Crump 1-6, Hartlaub 1-2.