HUDSON — When Springstead opened its new era with Thursday’s 28-0 preseason win over Hudson, the new Eagles looked almost identical to the old ones.
Their run game was strong. Their offense was opportunistic. Their defense was disciplined.
“It’s classic Springstead football,” first-year coach Mike Garofano said. “That’s what we do.”
It worked last year, when then-coach Bill Vonada led the Eagles to their first district title since 1996, and it worked Thursday night at Hudson.
After forcing a three-and-out to start the game, Springstead churned out a 21-play, 77-yard drive that was reminiscent of its 20-play opening drive in the spring jamboree. The Eagles converted two third downs, drew an offside penalty on fourth down and finally scored on an 8-yard pass from Tyler Mahla to Tyler Anderson on fourth down.
Springstead remained aggressive, never punting while scoring twice more on fourth down. Daniel Wright exploded for a 36-yard score in the second quarter, and backup quarterback Joe Jeffords plunged into the end zone for a 6-yard rush late in the third.
“The coaching staff’s confident in the offense,” Garofano said. “Here we go. We’re keeping at it.”
Mahla starred for Springstead, starting his senior year with 126 rushing yards — 80 coming on a streaking touchdown run on the second play of the third quarter. The Eagles ran for 270 yards in the first three quarters before JV players took the field.
The Cobras didn’t lose a turnover but struggled against Springstead’s defense. Hudson mustered only 95 yards on 33 plays and got only six first downs. Senior Jesse Cowan had two sacks to lead the Eagles.
“They’re gonna be good. That’s why I scheduled them,” Hudson coach Mark Kantor said. “This is a great test for what we have to try to do and try to accomplish.”
The game was called with 10:29 left when a Hudson player felt tingling in his extremities after a hit. He was transported to a medical facility via helicopter for precautionary reasons but is expected to be fine, Kantor said.