SPRINGFIELD – Springfield brought plenty of sizzle to Friday night’s rivalry game against Thurston. But along with that sizzle, there was a heaping helping of fizzle, as the Millers self-destructed at a troubling rate, falling 34-13 at Silke Field.
The first two minutes was a microcosm of the entire game. Springfield ran a halfback-option pass play on the first snap, and Caeleb Kasperek threw a perfect 63-yard pass to Jaevon Spencer to the Thurston 9-yard line. The Millers moved the ball to the 1-foot line, but then stalled out.
Again, in the fourth quarter, Springfield reached the 1-foot line and failed to score, fumbling the ball on back-to-back snaps.
“The shoot-ourselves-in-the-foot deal that we did tonight was epic,” Millers first-year coach Frank Geske said. “Not taking anything away from Thurston – they throw the ball around really well, and spread it out enough that you have to have a heavy dose of coverage going on or they’ll make you pay. Those kids break tackles. If you play too much one-on-one stuff, you’re gonna pay a huge price.
“It’s pretty self-defeating when the snap can’t even be completed, but we knew what we were facing. I knew we weren’t going to change everything in a year, but I sure as heck thought we’d have a better showing than what we did tonight.”
Geske said the lopsided score might even wind up being a silver lining.
“It could have been the best thing that could happen to us,” he said. “We’ll see those guys again. I guarantee you we’ll see those guys again in the playoffs. We’re a good football team, and we have to remember that.
“We’re going to be a different team from here on out. I can see that in their eyes. We had a great week of practice, a great locker room before the game. I thought we were ready to go, but we were a little bit too tight, whatever … the lights were a little too bright; the dog ate our homework; we woke up with our girlfriend … something made us go a little bit sideways.”
Geske said the Millers plan to move forward with a two-quarterback system, because senior QBs Kasperek and Zack Sherman complement one another. Both played extensively against Thurston.
“Sherman is a really good athlete and can do things that Caeleb can’t do, and Caeleb’s experience lends him to doing things that Sherman can’t do,” Geske said.