The Springfield Yellow Jackets left no doubt that they were still the team to beat in Region 5-4A, demolishing the White House Heritage Patriots 57-14.
Heritage came into the game with a 2-0 record with high hopes of avenging its one-point loss to Springfield last fall. Those hopes quickly faded, as SHS held the lead from the first drive of the game.
The Yellow Jackets moved the ball with ease all night. On the first drive, senior quarterback Kevontez Hudson connected with junior Keyshawn Robinson on a touchdown pass. Robinson almost went down on the play but was able to stay alive and score.
The Patriots moved the ball on their first drive, but senior Gabe Kelly picked off his third interception of the young season around midfield. Hudson found the end zone with his legs to cap off Springfield’s second drive.
Heritage moved the ball across midfield on their second drive, but again, catastrophe struck. Senior running back Jackson Mapes broke into the secondary but fumbled after a long gain. The Yellow Jackets recovered and went on to score another touchdown.
Springfield led 20-0 at the end of the first quarter and 36-0 at halftime. The clock began to run non-stop in the third quarter, and the game mercifully ended with a final score of 57-14.
The Yellow Jackets were again led by seniors Hudson and Kelly on the field and the scoreboard. Hudson gained over 200 total yards rushing and passing while scoring four touchdowns. Kelly caught a touchdown pass and made the interception in the first quarter.
Although those two have been consistent leaders through two games, there were many contributors behind them. Junior Keyshawn Robinson added 75 receiving yards and a touchdown catch. Lamarious Daniels, Keontez Woodard and Shymarion Woodard all held their own in the running game, creating more options to gouge the defense.
The Yellow Jackets picked up a Week 1 victory over Wilson Central, but they looked even better this time around, clicking on all cylinders Friday night. Head coach Dustin Wilson said that’s to be expected coming off of an early bye and with the lack of pre-season reps.
“It’s really our second scrimmage,” Wilson said. “The old saying - ‘You get better between [Weeks] 1 and 2.’ We had two weeks to do it. It’s probably a little bit of extra practice, a little bit fresher legs, but that’s just part of the season when you play somebody that hasn’t had a bye.”
While the emphatic win is something to celebrate, Wilson said his team needs to move forward and keep improving.
“The best thing we got to do is forget this one and know there’s more (in front of) us,” Wilson said. “We’ll be in on Saturday, and we’ll watch film. We’ll enjoy it tonight and in the morning, but we’ll move on to our next opponent and try to get ready, try to put some more wrinkles in and try to get ready for another region opponent.”
Springfield will face Station Camp next Friday in a non-region game before facing another region opponent White House.
The Patriots had over 200 yards, but untimely turnovers cost them any chance of winning the game. They had two fumbles and one interception in their first four possessions, totaling five turnovers in the game.
Head coach Stetson Dickerson’s team has had problems turning yards into points this season, and it made them pay with a loss for the first time. Dickerson said it’s a combination of a few things, but they have got to be better mentally.
“Mentally, we weren’t ready,” Dickerson said. “They’re a good football team that apparently values the ball a little more than we did tonight. We talked about it at half.
“When you got it, you got to take care of it. It’s got to be important to them. We didn’t do what we needed to do, and when you turn the ball over as many times as we did tonight, scores look lop-sided really quickly.”
Dickerson now turns his team’s attention to next week’s matchup at Sycamore. His message to his team was simple: move forward with positivity.
“We got to learn from it,” Dickerson said. “You look at the score and you know that a ton of bad things happened tonight. Our message is, ‘Let’s find the things that we know we can fix. Let’s find the things we know we need to get better, and that’s what we’ve got to do.’
“We’ve got to move forward. There’s nothing we can do to go back and fix tonight. We just got to fix ourselves with effort and positivity and move forward and be a better team for it.”