For nearly a half of football, it appeared that the Springfield defense would shut down the powerful Beech running game.
It turns out, the Buccaneers just needed to get warmed up.
Beech amassed a total of 436 rushing yards to defeat the visiting Yellow Jackets 42-10 in a game that boasted two of the Midstate’s top defensive teams at Shackle Island Friday evening.
After battling to a stalemate for more than a quarter, Springfield (5-2) opened the scoring midway through the second quarter when Logan Leftrick drilled a 55-yard field goal to put the Yellow Jackets up 3-0. The kick broke the previous Springfield record of 51 set in 2001 by four yards.
Beech head coach Anthony Crabtree discussed the difficulties with Springfield’s defense early.
“Defensively they gave us several different looks, they had a lot of line stunts, a lot of movement,” Crabtree said. “We were trying to do some things that we thought would hurt them, that turned out to hurt us more than them.”
Springfield’s defense continued to stymie the Beech offense, and the Yellow Jacket offense struggled to move the ball as well. Beech held Springfield quarterback Devon Crenshaw to 4-of-14 passing for 33 yards before exiting the game in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
As Springfield’s drive sputtered, they managed to pin Beech (6-1) inside their 10-yard line as time grew shorter in the first half. Then, Beech turned to running back Darius Johnson.
Johnson took a handoff of the left side, juked the cornerbacks and raced down to the Yellow Jacket 15-yard line before he was tracked down by Ja’Quavion Johnson.
Johnson finished the drive with a two-yard blast, giving Beech its first lead with 2:22 left in the half.
“I think that let them (Springfield) know that ‘Hey, they can still score at any time,’” Crabtree said. “It was a great play for the end of the half. It was big, it gave us a little momentum going into halftime. And once we got that touchdown, we couldn’t let up. Got to keep out foot on the pedal.”
Springfield, still unable to get anything going under freshman quarterback Parker Betts, went in at halftime training 7-3.
“At halftime we just made some adjustments on both sides of the ball so we could get some points and some sops in the second half,” Crabtree said.
Receiving the second half kickoff, Beech picked up where they had left off before halftime, taking the opening drive down the field in just more than three minutes, scoring on a JP Courtney 1-yard run.
“We had to come out hard,” Johnson said, “because if we let up, they (Springfield) were going to come back and shove it down our throat.”
“That’s the game that you play when you play a little bit bigger school, and they have subs, and you don’t,” Springfield head coach Dustin Wilson said. “You got a 3-0 ballgame before then and everybody’s mind settles on a new quarterback coming in, that’s just the expected game when come in a play a heavyweight like Beech.”
Once again Beech’s defense stopped the Yellow Jacket offense and force them to punt. Caden Thieman fielded the punt at the Buccaneer 40-yard line, outraced everyone to the sideline, and beelined it 60 yards for the score. Theiman took a jet sweep 78 yards for another touchdown to give Beech a 28-3 lead with just more than four minutes to play.
Springfield answered back immediately when freshman running back Jaidon Hurst raced untouched 81 yards for the Yellow Jackets’ only touchdown, but Beech scored on the first play of the next possession when Johnson scored on an 80-yard touchdown run.
Chelton Swafford added to the final tally with a 15-yard run with 42 seconds left.
Wilson was positive about the extent of Crenshaw’s injury after the game.
“Oh yeah, precautionary stuff, but yeah, mainly good reports from him,” Wilson said. “I guess non-region game, I guess ‘smart’ is the word for that, we both agreed on that, so hopefully good reports keep coming.”