Springfield Tigers Section 3A Champions!
Springfield showed guts, grit and a winner’s mentality as they pulled out a last minute 23-21 win over Martin County West in the Section 3A championship game at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall Friday. The Tigers found themselves in both familiar and unchartered territory as a comfortable lead turned into a come-from-behind dog-fight win over the Mavericks.
Springfield opened the scoring in the first quarter when Decker Scheffler connected with Ivan Hovland for a nine yard touchdown pass, putting the Tigers up 7-0. The lead grew to 10-0 after Mark Peschges booted a 22-yard field goal in the second quarter.
After the Tigers stopped the Mavericks in the red zone to end the first half, Springfield grew their lead to 17-0 on a 43-yard Scheffler to Jordan Toll touchdown pass in the third quarter. Martin County West came swinging back, starting with a touchdown run to cut the lead to 17-7 with eight minutes left in the third quarter.
The score remained the same until less than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter when the Mavericks struck paydirt again, cutting Springfield’s lead to 17-14. The Tigers turned the ball over on downs on their next possession, setting the table for a Martin County West upset. The Mavericks made their way down the field, capping the drive with a Payton Anderson touchdown, taking a 21-17 lead with less than two minutes to play. Facing elimination, Springfield showed the heart of a champion and eye of the Tiger, converting two fourth downs as they worked down the field and deep into Maverick territory. With 15 seconds on the clock, Scheffler connected on his third touchdown pass of the game, this one to Nolan Hovland from five yards out, putting the Tigers up for good 23-21.
The Tigers racked up 246 yards on the ground, led by Kadin Johnson with 109 and Mason Rummel with 88. Scheffler went 19 for 30 through the air, putting up 152 yards and three touchdowns. Toll had three catches for 55 yards and a TD, and Tori Helget had a team-high six grabs.
Ivan Hovland was a beast on defense, racking up 17 tackles and forcing a fumble. Rummel had 13 tackles and a sack, and Owen Bertram and Nolan Hovland each had an interception.
Springfield, ranked No. 3 in the latest Minnesota High School Class A polls, will open the state tournament against the No. 2 team in state, Blooming Prairie, at 12 p.m. this Saturday at Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School in Janesville. Action then shifts to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis Saturday, Nov. 16.
Other Class A state tournament games include No. 1 BOLD against Deer River, Gibbon-Fairfax-Wibbon vs Browerville-Eagle Valley, and Underwood vs Ada-Borup. If the Tigers defeat Blooming Prairie, they will play the winner of Underwood and Ada-Borup at 11:30 a.m.
Congratulations to Head Coach Bob Fink and the entire Tiger squad and staff on winning the Section championship and best of luck as you enter state tournament play on Saturday!
See more sports in this week's issue of the Springfield Advance-Press.