BERLIN CENTER, Ohio (WKBN) – The Western Reserve Blue Devils score early, then held on to beat Springfield 9-7 Friday night at home. The win advances the Devils record to 2-2 on the season while the Tigers drop to 2-2.
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With the Devils leading 9-0, with just under four minutes left in the contest, the Tigers mounted what would be a desperate come back try. Facing a fourth and six situation at their own 26-yard line Tiger quarterback Graham Mincher would throw an incomplete pass over the middle. However, the Devils would be called for pass interference, giving the Tiger second life at the 41-yard line.
PHOTOS | Western Reserve 9, Springfield 7
Three plays later, Tigers Coach Sean Guerriero would pull out all the stops as he called for a trick play to try to get his team on the scoreboard. It worked,
Mincher would lateral the ball in the left flat to tailback Frankie Centofanti who would then throw the ball back across the field to an open Mincher. Helped by a tremendous block, Mincher would race 63-yards down the right side of the field to score a touchdown with only 1:29 remaining in the game.
“Well, you always have a couple trick plays,” Guerrierro said. “We weren’t moving the ball so I ended up calling it. Fortunately, it worked out.”
However, the Devils Cole Chelbus would recover the attempted on-side kick following the score, allowing the Devils to run out the clock and end the threat.
“I knew we were up two scores with two minutes to go,” Devils Wyatt Larimer remarked. “I wasn’t looking ahead, but I knew deep down inside me that we were going to get the ball back and run the clock out.”
The Devils would dominate the first half of the game, limited the potent Tigers offense to only eight offensive plays in the first half. Mean time, the Devils would run 42 plays, racking up 196 yards running the ball out of the power I formation.
In the process, the Devils took a 7-0 lead when Larimer plowed in from just 1-yard out at the end of a 16-play, 77-yard drive to start the game. The drive would eat up 7:52 of the first quarter clock.
The Devils would then come up big on defense when they pinned the Tigers deep in their own territory at the 9-yard line two possessions later. After a penalty forced the Tigers back to their own 6, Mincher had a bad snap go to his right from the shot-gun formation. Mincher would go to a knee to try to catch the snap, causing a safety, and giving the Devils a 9-0 with just 1:29 remaining in the first quarter.
“We felt great being up 9-0 considering that they were 2-1 beating two really good teams and it felt great having that score at halftime,” Larimer said.
“Our offensive line came through,” Hake said. “The challenge was on them. I give credit to our kids and our coaches.”
“This is one of my favorite teams,” Blue Devils Coach Andy Hake remarked. “This is as good as the other teams that I have had. We just lost two games in the fourth quarter and we found a way to grow up and win a game in the fourth quarter.
Springfield will host Southern in week five. Western Reserve will visit Wellsville.