SPRING HILL — After not making the trip to Booster Stadium in 36 years, Berkeley Prep fell into the same trap Friday night that has doomed many Springstead opponents.
Slowing the pace and running the ball is what the Eagles want, and in the end, it spelled a 30-18 win for Springstead.
After forcing the Eagles (4-1) to punt on their first series, the Buccaneers (2-2) came out trying to pound the ball with no success.
Springstead’s stout defense, led by middle linebacker Conor Ross (two sacks, forced fumble), held Berkeley Prep to 1 yard rushing in the first half.
“We wanted to come out and smack them in the mouth,” Ross said. “We have to own the (offensive) line and get to the quarterback.”
Springstead pushed across a touchdown in the first quarter on Malcolm Fitts’ first career score, a 14-yard scamper. A botched snap on the extra point only made it 6-0, but the Eagles sat on that advantage until halftime.
“We’re put into a place where we can succeed,” Springstead linebacker Jordan Rivera, who picked up his first career sack, said. “Everyone is focused on every down.”
On the opening drive of the third, Addison Grams took the first handoff 28 yards for a first down to give Berkeley Prep some momentum.
Picking up 57 yards on the ground, Grams led the Buccaneers down inside the red zone before Brad Mayes hit N’namdi Green for an 11-yard score. With a chance to take the lead on the extra point, Springstead defensive lineman Jesse Cowan blocked Austin Inglehart’s point after to keep it knotted at 6-all.
The time of possession was heavily in Springstead’s favor with the home team running 75 plays to only 29 for Berkeley Prep. It caught up with the Buccaneer defense in the fourth quarter.
The Springstead offense exploded for 24 points, including Tyler Mahla’s seventh touchdown run of the season, a 30-yard Daniel Wright TD run, and a 45-yard Kevin Bedford touchdown run. Wright (27 carries, 124 yards) and Mahla (22 carries, 144 yards) each finished with more than 100 yards on the ground as the Eagles racked up 368 yards on 62 carries.