By Jeff Meder
Journal Sports Writer
SPRINGFIELD - Springfield took advantage of something that had hurt it during the regular season - turnovers. The Tigers came up with a 41-18 win over Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton Tuesday night in the first round of the Section 2A football playoffs.
The Tigers drew first blood by scoring on their first drive. Quarterback Carter Erickson threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Vogel. Andrew Salonek kicked the extra point and Springfield led 7-0
At 7:22 of the first quarter, Erickson took matters into his own hands when he scored on a 1-yard plunge. Salonek kicked the extra point and the Tigers led 14-0.
JWP came back with a score of its own on an 80-yard punt return by Sawyer Gahler. The two-point PAT failed, making the score 14-6 for Springfield after the first quarter.
Springfield made a mistake of its own when JWP blocked a punt. Gahler threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Brendan Dimmel at 7:52 of the second quarter and th Tigers led 14-12.
Springfield recovered a Bulldog fumble and capitalized on it when Erickson threw a 24-yard pass to Sam Baier. Salonek kicked the extra point and Springfield led 21-12 at half-time
JWP took the opening second half kick-off and it used a mix of passes and runs to set up what would be its final score of the night. Gahler threw a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Johnson at 9:03. The two-point PAT failed and the score was 21-18 Springfield.
Justin Macht ran two yards for a score with 3:25 left in the third quarter. Salonek's PAT gave Springfield some breathing room with a 28-18 lead.
Macht scored again, this time on a two-yard run with 3:58 in the game. Salonek's kick upped the Tiger lead to 35-18.
Springfield got another turnover on an interception. Baier broke loose from 37 yards out and he scored the game's final touchdown. Salonek's kick was blocked leading to the final score of 41-18 for the Tigers.
The Bulldogs stayed on the ground as they tried to get another score, but the Springfield defense stiffened and time ran out.
Erickson was 11-for-17 passing for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Vogel had two carries for 99 yards and one touchdown and Dylan Salonek rushed 16 times for 105 yards for the Tigers.
Bobby Klabunde had 13 tackles and Cooper Scheffler had two interceptions defensively for Springfield.
"We took care of the football, (and) we won the take-away battle," said Springfield Head Coach Paul Dunn.
He also praised JWP.
"They came ready to play, they played a tough game, and it was a lot closer game than the score indicated," Dunn said.
Springfield (5-4) will travel to Sleepy Eye Saturday to play the top-seeded St. Mary's in the semi-final round of the Section 2 tournament.