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Springfield football team looking to build on season-ending win

11/7/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield High School football head coach Kevin Vaughn said he was glad to see his team’s season end “on a high note.”

“All season long, we played in a lot of close games, and our kids were able to play hard and compete, week in and week out, and never give up,” the coach said. “So, ending the season with a win against Ravenna, which is something we haven’t done at Springfield since we’ve been in the Portage Trail Conference [PTC], was a highlight. We had some good individual performances as we grew as a team, and we kind of found a niche with what we wanted to do about mid-year. Those are things we can grow on as we go into the next season.”

According to Vaughn, Springfield showed “a lot of resilience” in its Nov. 1 victory over Ravenna High School.

“We were down 17-0, and we scored 28 unanswered points to win the game 28-17,” he said. “To be down and to not give in — to continue to push and try to go out on a high note for the seniors in their last football game — those are the kinds of things we feel we can build on as far as an attitude goes and building towards the future.”

Springfield finished the 2013 season with a 3-7 overall record and a 2-4 mark in the PTC’s Metro Division.

“I think we had higher expectations as far as wins and losses — we always do — but we were in a new system and we had some new kids in new roles,” the coach said. “But overall, we had some experience, so we thought we were going to be able to do a lot of the things that we wanted to do. And I guess, to an extent, we did so. We played really good football for most of the season, but we just didn’t always end up on top of the scoreboard at the end of the game. But throughout, the kids played hard, and I think we are a better team than what our record says.”

Vaughn said his team showed definite improvement as the season progressed.

“I thought, for the most part, that we played good defense all year round, except for in a couple of games,” he stated. “Offensively, we struggled all throughout the beginning, and we kind of had a quarterback controversy. Through about week four, we were splitting snaps. But in week five, we decided to go with a sophomore, Aaron James, and with some of the athletic ability he has to be elusive and be witty with his decisions in the shotgun, we were able to find out that we can throw the ball. It became our identity to spread the field and throw the rock around a little bit. It helped us to be more productive on that side of the ball. From start to finish, I thought we improved quite a bit on that side of the ball.”

Next season, Vaughn said, James will be expected to take the next step in his development.

“He’s got five or six games under his belt, and we’ve watched him do a lot of good things and we’ve watched some bad decision-making at times,” the coach said. “Those are all good things as far as being able to learn. He’s going to learn from the bad things that happened, and he has the experience now. He’s just a real competitor. He’s going to be able to come back next year and start where he left off. I think he’s going to do a lot of good things for Springfield as a quarterback.”

A number of key players are set to graduate at the end of the school year, but Vaughn said he feels confident the program has players who are ready to step in and compete.

“Obviously, there are a lot of holes to fill, and some of them are big shoes,” he said. “But we have some young kids who have done some good things throughout our [junior varsity], and I feel comfortable with what we have coming back. Our young kids competed every Saturday morning. We’ll be able to fill in and be fine.”

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