By Kevin Cummings
In the recent past, a game against Northview, especially a road game, could almost have been tagged as a loss for the Springfield football team even before the opening kickoff. The Wildcats have been that good, and the Blue Devils have been searching for an identity and, well, have struggled. Identity found and fortunes reversed. Springfield, which let the hosts hang around for a quarter, put its game face on in the second, on the way to recording an impressive 39-17 Northern Lakes League (NLL) victory.
The win raises the Blue Devils record to 3-1 overall and 1-0 in the conference, while North- view falls to 1-3 on the year and 0-1 in the league. Eric Page, who amassed 303 yards of total offense, had the Royal Blue and White on the board first, scampering in from 22 yards away for the score. He then added the point after to give the visitors a 7-0 lead. Page then found his favorite target, Tyler Grogg, on a 34-yard touchdown strike. The kick failed, and the Blue Devils lead stood at 13-0.
Northview then treated its fans to a touchdown when Ryan Kremchek found a streaking Mike Epstein from 51 yards out. Levi Jasper added the extra point to pull the Wildcats to within six at 13-7. Before the first quarter expired Jasper pulled his team even closer, connecting on a 22-yard field goal to send the teams into second session with Springfield holding just a 13-10 advantage.
The Cats' wouldn't score again until the fourth. Springfield tallied 12 points in the second period as Page burst in from the four-yard-line and Damian Smith from the 19. Both extra points were off the mark, and the Blue Devils strolled into the locker room owning a 25-10 advantage.
"Damian had a great ballgame," Coach Connelly said. "He ran for nearly 100 yards [88 on 16 carries]. "We were also able to get the ball to a couple of different receivers, which is always a good thing as it opens up your options."
Following a scoreless third quarter, Grogg hauled in another touchdown pass from Page, this one from 30 yards out. Page connected on the ensuing extra point, and Springfield owned a 32-10 lead.
"Tyler is the fastest kid on the team," Coach Connelly said. "Not on a track, but on a football field.
"He's going to be hard to catch after he gets 25 yards deep."
The Wildcats' final points came off a 55-yard pass from Kremchek to Tyler James and Jasper's point after. Page then tacked on his third touchdown of the night, this one from the one. His foot and leg closed the curtains on Northview.
"Our defense did a pretty darn good job," Coach Connelly said.
"They really came up big in the red zone. "We had a little adversity and fought our way through it. The offense got a little discombobulated in the third, but we bounced back with two scores and sealed the deal."
Page finished the evening with 162 yards on 24 rushing attempts while completing 7-of-16 passes for 141 yards. Kremchek was 20-of-42 for 257 yards.
"We dropped about four or five passes that should have been caught," Coach Connelly said.