Millers start fast, stand up to 4A Marist

EUGENE – Springfield learned a couple of things about itself Friday night in a 41-20 loss at Marist Catholic. 

One, the visiting Millers found out they could stand toe-to-toe with a powerhouse program like the No. 8-ranked Class 4A Spartans. Two, they need to play mistake-free football to have a chance against a team like Marist Catholic.

After both teams scored early touchdowns, Marist blocked a Springfield punt and executed a scoop-and-score to take a 14-6 lead. The Millers never got within a touchdown after that. 

 “Part of our frustration is that we’re better than what we showed right there,” Springfield coach Miles Haley said. “We talked about how disciplined Marist would be – I know Frank (Geske) well, I coached under him for a couple years – We are a confident group, we’re still learning how to win. We have the athletes to compete with anyone. 

“They talk about the line of growth being up and down and up and down. This is part of growing. For me it’s staying true to our mission and our goal of what we want to do. The goal hasn’t changed because of tonight. We’re going to attack next week, we’re  tough kids and we’re really talented and so, hey, with a team that’s kind of raw right now, the refinement from attacking a week of film, we’re excited about getting better.”  

Though they were inconsistent, the Millers looked particularly impressive in the passing game at times Friday night. 

“We’re really confident in our skill group. We feel like we’re one of the top skill groups in the state, we have to continue finding ways to get them the ball,” Haley said. “We had a couple guys banged up, but we’re still confident in the guys who step in for those guys. We’re going to keep getting better. We’re going to refine and attack the day. I’m so excited for next week to fix some of the stuff that happened tonight.” 

In his fourth year as head coach, Haley said this year’s group definitely has a new and improved attitude. Haley’s teams have posted a 5-20 record over the last three seasons. 

“In years past Springfield teams expected (to lose), and they kind of settled for it, like it’s OK, but based on their body language, this isn’t OK,” Haley said. 

“They wanted this one and I think we’re all ready to put our best foot forward next week. They’re making the trip up, and it’s our first league game, home league opener. I’m hoping for a good atmosphere. I don’t believe any less in our team today than I did earlier today. It’s a slow grind, but I think these guys are going to be great and I fully believe we’re going to come back and be our best selves next week,” he said.