SPRING HILL — The Springstead faithful can officially gear up for a Class 6A, District 6 title showdown next week at Land O’Lakes.
The Eagles (7-1, 3-0) are the leaders in the district race with one game to go after dominating Mitchell 38-6 Friday at Booster Stadium. Land O’Lakes (7-1, 2-1) routed Fivay 44-12 as the Gators’ James Pensyl accounted for five TDs.
“We’ve been preparing all season for these two games against Mitchell and Land O’Lakes,” Springstead coach Mike Garofano said. “I’m not satisfied with how we played (Friday night), but I’m a perfectionist.”
Springstead took only 59 seconds to jump onto the scoreboard when Kevin Bedford followed up a 55-yard gain with a 12-yard touchdown run.
The Mustangs (5-4, 1-3) did their best to keep pace behind the arm of Taylor Schneider (10-for-18, 119 yards, two interceptions) and the legs of running backs Nate Boler and Will Fairbank (15 carries, 55 yards, two catches, 21 yards). Boler followed two passes from Schneider with a 34-yard draw play to get into the end zone, but the extra point was missed.
Mitchell’s defense looked as if it was going to keep things close, forcing the Eagles to punt on their second possession, but Tyler Mahla led Springstead down the field on its third possession, capping the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter.
Schneider went back to work, leading his unit down the field by completing six straight passes. But when a pass to Fairbank in the end zone deflected off of his facemask, the ball was intercepted by Springstead defensive back Brian Rae.
Daniel Wright completed the 14-point swing when he scored on a 2-yard run after the turnover, making it 21-6 at halftime instead of potentially 14-13.
Mahla (5-for-11, 59 yards, 16 carries, 112 yards, two touchdowns) had his usual strong game leading the Eagles attack, while Bedford (seven carries, 95 yards, one touchdown) and Wright (11 carries, 54 yards, one touchdown) did plenty of damage as well.
“It was nice to do some different things (offensively),” Mahla said. “They are well-coached, and we had to get our game plan going.”
Coming off of a 200-yard, three-touchdown effort last week, the vaunted Eagles defense held Boler to 61 yards on 16 carries and only 23 years on 15 carries after his opening touchdown.