By Riley Grubbs for The Robertson County Connection
WHITE HOUSE -White House hosted Springfield on Friday night in its biggest game of the year so far. The Blue Devils kept their undefeated season alive, beating Springfield 16-14 for their first region win over the preseason favorite to win the region.
“It was a great football game that went back and forth,” Blue Devils coach Jeff Porter said. “It was a game that either team could have won.”
Both teams traded punts on their first possessions; however, Springfield broke onto the scoreboard on its second possession.
The drive went 68 yards on just two plays. Springfield started with a pass from Bryan Hayes to Dayron Johnson for 67 yards, setting up first-and-goal. Despite being a first-and-goal, Springfield’s worst nightmare came true when Johnson left the game due to an injury. But there was a lot of game left to be played, so Springfield moved on and scored on the very next play. Keith Jones punched it into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown, taking a 7-0 lead.
White House answered back on an 8-play, 61-yard drive, ending with a 10-yard touchdown run by Heritage transfer and 2016 All-Region running back Preston Sharber, tying the game at 7.
Springfield and White House both moved the ball on their next possessions; however, both defenses tightened up and forced punts. White House punted from its 44-yard line and found a way to push back the Jackets’ return man, taking him down at Springfield’s 3-yard line.
The Jackets were seemingly unaffected by the field position, turning the first play of the drive into a 97-yard touchdown run by Jones – his second of the night. The Jackets took the lead 14-7 at halftime, after both teams turned the ball over and Springfield missed a field goal. On the play, White House junior Cameron Casanova went down a serious leg injury, leaving the game in an ambulance.
“We executed a few more thing better than we did in the second half,” Jackets head coach Dustin Wilson said. “The second half was just like the first one, it was a real physical ball game. We were unable to flip the field.”
In the third quarter, White House moved down the field on a 12-play, 79-yard drive, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run from quarterback Andrew Nixon. After a penalty on the Jackets, the Devils attempted a two-point conversion for the lead but failed, leaving Springfield in front 14-13.
“It was just the situation where the penalty got us down half way, we tried to get a lead and it didn’t work out,” Porter said.
A few possessions later, White House found themselves down in Jacket territory on fourth down at the 17. The Blue Devils attempted a field goal, but came up just short, heading into the fourth still a one-point game.
Springfield’s next drive stalled and ended deep in their own territory after White House blocked their punt – starting their drive on the 26-yard line. White House drove it down to the 1-yard line, but an illegal procedure penalty moved them back five yards and they were unable to punch it in the end zone, but they didn’t need to. Jacob Harper made a field goal for the 16-14 win. Springfield had two possessions after that, but both ended in a turnover-on-downs.
Springfield falls to 3-2, as they will host Beech for homecoming on Friday, its third Sumner County non-region matchup of the year. The 4-0 Blue Devils head to Sycamore on Friday for their fourth non-region matchup of the year.
Photos by Phil Stauder for The Connection