By Scott Halasz
BEAVERCREEK — Big plays and turnovers cost Beavercreek against visiting Springfield, Friday.
The Beavers had a blocked punt and a fumble returned for touchdowns and then had a fourth-quarter fumble turned into the decisive score in a 32-27 loss at Frank Zink Field. A pair of 50-yard runs also contributed to a third-straight loss for Beavercreek.
“There were multiple 14-point swings in the game,” Coach Nic Black said. “We had a blocked punt. We fumbled the ball away. They didn’t stop us all night. They know how to win, they just hadn’t executed the way you go about doing it.”
Beavercreek out-gained Springfield 290-259 and had a decided advantage in time of possession and first downs. But the Beavers (4-4 overall, 1-2 Greater Western Ohio Conference) could not overcome the mistakes.
The first came midway through the first quarter when a punt was blocked on the Beavercreek 19-yard line, leading to an 8-yard TD run by Shane Ramey. The fumble return for a score came late in the first quarter when Leonard Taylor picked up a loose ball and scampered 75 yards for a TD.
The final miscue came early in the fourth quarter when QB Cody Hocker had the ball punched out and recovered by Springfield’s Daniel Davis on the ‘Creek 21. Four plays later, Taylor leaned in from the 3 to give Springfield a 32-21 lead.
Beavercreek closed to 32-27 late in the game after a 13-yard scoring pass from Hocker to Justin Terrell, which was set up by a 41-yard pass to Julian Linkhart. The Beavers got the ball back one last time, but couldn’t get the winning score.
Hocker completed 8 of 14 passes for 102 yards and ran 13 times for 28 yards. Rodney Alston ran 26 times for 75 yards. Noah Corrigan caught five balls for 34 yards. Ramey led the Panthers (6-2, 2-0 GWOC) with 166 yards on 20 carries. The Panthers had just 108 yards in the second half.
“Our defense has rose to the occasion a lot,” Black said. “Against some of the things they did, we needed to make slight adjustments.”
After the Wildcats’ first score, the Beavers grabbed the lead on the ensuing kickoff as Julian Linkart scampered 78 yards down the Beavercreek sideline for a TD. Marcella Cash’s extra point made it 7-6 with 6:23 left.
After Taylor’s fumble recovery, Beavercreek tied it early in the second, marching 65 yards on 12 plays using a bevy of Alston runs and a 3-yard scoring pass from Hocker to Corrigan.
Guess what happened next?
Another big play from Springfield. Ramey bolted 52 yards to the Beavercreek 2-yard line and then Davis plunged in for a 20-14 lead.
‘Creek retook the lead late in the half, again using the legs of Alston and a 26-yard run from Terrell to set up a 6-yard run from Stevie Llanas, who pinballed through the defense.
Davis set the Wildcats up for a last score in the first half, weaving 50 yards through the Beavercreek defense before being tackled on the 1-yard line Taylor then stepped over the Beavercreek defense for a 26-21 lead.
Creek’s Sean Keck tried field goals of 78 and 82 yards. Both fell way short, but it kept the ball out of the hands of the dangerous Davis.
“Punting is a dangerous option around here the last three years,” Black said.
And in the first quarter.
Beavercreek is at Miamisburg next week.
Score By Quarters
Springfield 14 12 0 6 – 32
Beavercreek 7 7 7 0 6 – 27
S- Ramey 8 run (run failed)
B – Linkhart 78 kick return (Cash kick)
S- Taylor 75 fumble return (Taylor pass to Jones)
B – Corrigan 2 pass from Hocker (Cash kick)
S – Davis 2 run (Run failed)
B – Llanas 6 run (Cash kick)
S – Taylor 1 run (Run failed)
S – Taylor 2 run (Kick failed)
B – Terrell 13 pass from Hocker (Pass failed)