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WESLEY CHAPEL — At the midpoint point of Springstead’s season, it almost seemed the playoffs were going to be out of reach for the overachieving Eagles.
After a crucial 31-28 district victory over Ocala West Port, it seems like Springstead has been clicking ever since.
With all cylinders rolling after Springstead clinched a playoff berth a couple weeks ago, the Eagles wisely used their two weeks heading into their matchup with Wiregrass Ranch to add a few tweaks to their vaunted option attack. They rolled up 410 yards rushing on 52 attempts in a 40-8 shellacking of the Bulls in a Class 4A quarterfinal matchup Friday night.
“Offensively, we we’re able to tweak a few things during the off week and that really helped us,” Springstead coach Bill Vonada said. “The preparation is really only possible if the kids are willing to work. It’s a humbling experience to be a part of such a great group of people.”
From start to finish, it seemed like Wiregrass (6-5), making its first playoff appearance, just never had an answer for the Springstead rushing attack.
It was evident on the Eagles’ first scoring drive in the first quarter, when they traveled 78 yards on 10 plays, nine of which were on the ground. Springstead (6-5) capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Brian Beeker (6-of-10, 86 yards) to Taylor Minter for a 7-0 lead.
By halftime, the Eagles built a 19-0 advantage, stunning Wiregrass’ home crowd.
The Bulls’ passing attack was hampered by dropped passes all night but got no relief on the ground, being limited to 14 yards on 18 attempts.
Wiregrass quarterback James Tringali (7-of-19, 140 yards) found it almost impossible at times to find open receivers, as the 6-foot-5 senior was sacked four times. The Bulls got on the scoreboard with 11:41 left in the fourth quarter off a 52-yard strike from Tringali to Antwan Prince, making it 33-8.
“We’ll be able to learn from this and improve from here,” Wiregrass coach Jeremy Shobe said. “We didn’t get anything established to change the momentum. (Springstead) did a good job.”