After several rain delays, the Springfield Yellow Jackets and Greenbrier Bobcats squared off Friday in wet conditions, leading to a sloppy game with multiple turnovers by both teams.
In a tough defensive battle, the Yellow Jackets came out on top for a 17-0 shutout over the Bobcats.
“You can’t make excuses when it comes to weather and things you can’t control,” Springfield coach Dustin Wilson said. “It seems like just another chapter to 2020. We’ve never really been in a weather delay like that, but it was good by our kids to just refocus and come out ready to play.”
Greenbrier suffered three turnovers in the first half. Springfield was unable to capitalize on the first two, as the Yellow Jackets’ offense stalled from several miscues, ranging from fumbled snaps to a missed field goal.
The Bobcats’ third turnover late in the second quarter proved costly, however. A fumble by Stoney Smith deep in Greenbrier territory was recovered by Springfield at the two-yard line. On the ensuing play, quarterback Kevontez Hudson punched it in for a touchdown.
“Springfield’s got a good team obviously, and you just can’t turn the ball over at the two-yard line like that,” Greenbrier coach John Elmore said. “We had several turnovers throughout the game, and you can’t do that stuff because they’re going to make you pay. It was wet on both sides, and we got some turnovers as well, but we just couldn’t take advantage of them.”
After forcing Greenbrier to a three-and-out on defense, Springfield tacked on a 29-yard field goal from Luis Diaz Jijon, giving the Yellow Jackets a 10-0 lead at halftime.
Springfield’s defense had a standout performance throughout the night, limiting Greenbrier’s offense to only one first down the entire game and only 34 yards of total offense.
“Both teams really did a good job considering these conditions,” Wilson said. “Snapping and holding and kicking was not easy tonight, but we knew when we did turn it over we felt good about relying on our defense to get stops.
With the defense doing their part, the Yellow Jackets added a final touchdown early in the third quarter on a 20-yard run from Hudson.
Hudson finished the night with 74 rushing yards, while Keontez Woodard led all rushers with 111 yards on 21 carries.
Springfield improves to 8-1 and 5-0 in region play and will host undefeated Creek Wood next Friday. The winner of that game will be the Region 5-4A champion.
“We’re finally healthy, so I feel good about our chances,” Wilson said. “Last year we were in the same situation at Creek Wood. Winning a region championship is always a big deal. We set out our goals to start the season that we wanted to win the region, and now we’ve got seven days to take care of business.”
Greenbrier also faces a winner-take-all scenario as they travel to take on White House next week with the final playoff spot in the region at stake.
“You’re always disappointed when you lose, especially to a county rival like that,” Elmore said. “But now we’ve got to regroup, focus on White House and get ready for them.”