Tigers too fierce for Rebels, 35-0
SLAYTON — Springfield senior quarterback Decker Scheffler said his football team has but a tiny goal this season.
“We want to go one game further than we did last year,” he said.
And that would mean a berth in the Prep Bowl 1A state championship game.
Scheffler threw two touchdown passes and ran for another as the Tigers, ranked seventh in this week’s AP poll of 1A teams, blasted Murray Country Central 35-0 here Friday night.
Springfield dominated from start to finish and outgained the host Rebels 467-93 in total yards.
“Since I’ve taken over the program this was our best performance,” said second-year Tigers coach Bob Fink, who last season led his team the state tournament semifinals. “We were hitting on all cylinders and we made the big play, both on third down and fourth down.”
Scheffler, who has accepted a basketball scholarship from NCAA Division I Ball State, threw a 49-yard scoring strike to Jordan Toll on Springfield’s first possession of the game. The senior QB accounted for a pair of second-half touchdowns with a 42-yard scramble and a 22-yard TD pass to Nolan Hovland. The latter came on fourth down and accounted for the final score.
The Tigers defeated the Rebels 15-14 in last year’s section finals, avenging a regular-season setback, and advanced all the way to the Prep Bowl semifinals before losing to eventual state champion Mahnomen-Waubun.
In fact, the MCC-Springfield rivalry has been an excellent one of late.
“They beat us my ninth-grade year, my 10th-grade year and once last year,” Scheffler said. “Now we’ve got them twice in a row.”
This one was no contest. The Tigers, with 16 seniors on the roster, looked every bit like a team that should be ranked among the state’s best. Though MCC entered the game unbeaten and garnered some votes in this week’s 1A poll, the Rebels were outclassed.
“We had some new defensive packages and we just play fast,” Scheffler said. “It paid off.”
Mason Rommel ran for 90 yards and a 42-yard touchdown for Springfield. The Tigers outrushed the youthful Rebels, 211-47.
The Springfield defense, at times disguising its front with all 11 players standing straight up and shooting different defenders to the gap at different times, made it a long night for talented MCC junior quarterback Blake Schmitz.
Scheffler had no such issues solving the Rebel defense.
“Their quarterback can run and throw and they have the guys up front,” MCC coach Patrick Freeman said. “When you have 60 guys out for football, and that’s what they’ve got 9 through 12, they have a lot of depth and cause a lot of problems.
“Just the physicality of their team gave us a lot of trouble.”
The Rebels fell to 2-1.
“The bright spot is we never quit,” Freeman said. “In the first half we had some decent offensive progressions, and to hold them to two scores was a win. Ultimately, we just couldn’t get anything going in the second half.”
Junior halfback Dylan Johnson ran for 40 yards, and freshman Jaden Deacon added 36 fourth-quarter yards on the ground.
Sophomore Christian Kuball had a pair of sacks for the Rebel defense.
The Springfield defense featured nine tackles for loss, including three sacks.
“We threw in a defense that they probably haven’t seen and that helped us,” Fink said. “We have a lot of respect for what (the Rebels) do offensively. They’re tough to hold down.”
This night, it was difficult to contain Decker Scheffler.
“He’s a great all-around athlete,” Fink said.
Springfield 6 8 15 6 — 35
MCC 0 0 0 0 — 0