It was a close game for Spring Hill against Rose Bud on Friday night, but the bears managed to claw their way to a 24-18 victory in the final minute of the game. Coach Greg Smith said that anytime you’re on the road brings unknown elements to the game, but he was proud of the Bears’ ability to make the best of it.
“Our Junior High played first and won, 30-6, so that started us out pretty positively. Our Juniors are 5-1 in the year, with one loss to Mountain Pine in non-conference play, and we’re hoping they can get a conference victory against them when we play them this weekend,” Smith said.
When the Seniors hit the scene, Smith said, they found Rose Bud a tough opponent, especially coming off an open week for Spring Hill.
“We started slow, and were actually behind 12-0 at halftime. Our boys got raised up at the half, though, and came back to make it a real ball game,” Smith said. “The score see-sawed in the fourth quarter, but we managed to score the last touchdown with 30 seconds left on the clock and our two-point conversion let us finish out at 24-18.”
Smith said Spring Hill had to dig deep into their offensive arsenal, and the game was a really tough physical fight for the players.
Levin McGuire, Smith said, has shown able to play both sides of the football, moving into a quarterback role that he played most of the game against Rose Bud. McGuire is sharing that duty with Colin Purifoy, who has moved into a receiver role and was able to make some huge plays Friday night.
“We’ll be working on our rushing game this week. Sort of cleaning up our offensive attack to get ready for Mountain Pine. Our throwing game we want to keep focusing on, and solidifying our defense,” Smith said. “We had a few errors last week and we need to fix those up.”
Smith said Mountain Pine is the lead in the conference, and is currently undefeated in conference play. They’ve had some losses to bigger schools, much like Spring Hill, who is also undefeated in conference play. Smith reckons that it’s going to be a good matchup for both teams overall.
“They’ve got speed all over the field, and size up front on both their offensive and defensive lines. We’re going to have to play as hard as we have all year. We need to minimize turnovers, take care of the football on offense, and do better tackling on defense. If we focus on those things, we might have a good chance to win,” Smith said.
Defensive Coordinator Caleb Lowe added that he felt the game against Rose Bud was really a battle for the players. Spring Hill came out slow, he said, while Rose Bud was ready to play. Some of that he attributed to the Bears’ lack of a game in the previous week, and some to Rose Bud being a tough opponent.
“They came out ready to run the ball down our throats. Fortunately, we were able to make some adjustments at the half and our players manned up to win the game in the second half,” Lowe said.
Lowe felt the defense played well, but some penalties helped Rose Bud with field position. Giving up a big kick return at the 30 or 25 yard line in the second half meant that Spring Hill didn’t get the ball until almost the four-minute mark, but the Bears managed to rally and pull out the victory.
Spring Hill, Lowe said, got their feet under them and started attacking the line of scrimmage in the second half, and did a great job going after Rose Bud’s offensive line.
“Our boys stepped up to the challenge. They dealt with adversity and frustration, and filled in some weak spots to just dominate the line of scrimmage in the second half,” Lowe said.
He also agreed that Mountain Pine may be another tough game for the Bears.
“We know we can’t come out slow against Mountain Pine. They’ll make you pay for sleeping on the field, so we’ve got to go out with a sense of urgency,” Lowe said. “We can’t afford to put ourselves in the hole in the first half, and we’ve got to roll from the opening kick. They beat us in the finals last year, and they’re the defending state champs for a reason. They play hard, they’re a dangerous team, but overall I feel like we’re excited for the opportunity to get a win against them this weekend.”