SPRING HILL — Short weeks don't come around very often in the prep football season, but that was the case for Springstead and Hernando on Thursday night at Booster Stadium.
On a rare midweek game because of a student holiday, the Eagles flexed their defensive muscle, completing their second consecutive shutout, 21-0 over the visiting Leopards.
"We discussed (the short week) and realized we came out a little flat," Springstead coach Bill Vonada said. "When you have so many big games on the schedule, it's tough to get the team up week in and week out, but that is exactly what we have to do."
The game, though sluggish at times, was primary evidence of why Springstead (5-1) is considered the current Class 4A, District 8 favorite.
After a slow start on the ground, the Eagles offense opened up the passing game behind its field general, James Mahla (13-for-22, 148 yards, one touchdown).
Hernando (2-4) played solid defense, but Springstead had too many weapons for John Palmer's program to overcome.
Mahla not only passed the ball accurately, continuing his county-leading streak of 102 pass attempts this season without an interception, but was strong on the ground, rushing for a team-high 58 yards and a trip to paydirt.
"You have to credit Coach Palmer and the Hernando defense," Vonada said. "We had to go away from the run early and open up the passing game, and that's a tribute to what Hernando did."
Dominic Roberson was a one-man nightmare for the Leopards. Not only did he lead the Eagles with seven receptions for 74 yards and a touchdown, but the senior defensive back also sacked Hernando starter Kall Daniel twice and picked him off once.