SPRINGFIELD - The Springfield Tigers football team pitched a shutout Friday night against the Red Rock Central Falcons.
For the third year in a row.
With a 33-0 victory to open the season, Springfield has shut down RRC's offense for 12-straight quarters. The difference this year is a new defensive scheme for the Tigers that utilizes their speed instead of size. It worked.
"I was really happy with the play of the linebackers, strong safety and both covers," Springfield coach Paul Dunn said. "Plus, we did really well up front. It's a bit of a new look for us, but I'm happy with what I saw so far. On offense, we really spread the ball around."
On the other side, RRC coach Isaac Jenniges wasn't pleased with his team's effort.
"This is not what we were hoping for," Jenniges said. "There was a less-than-stellar effort on all aspects of the game. We weren't physical and we weren't very good."
Quarterback Carter Erickson opened the scoring for Springfield with 4:11 left in the first quarter when he faked a handoff, took off to the left, cut back right and hit the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown. The play was set up by a 18-yard rush from Collin Ahlness and Dylan Salonek runs that totaled 19 yards.
Then Erickson intercepted a Taylor Bunting pass to set up a seven-play, 54-yard drive highlighted by a gutsy 4-and-5 pass to a wide open Zach Johnson that went for 25 yards. Three plays later, Salonek took the ball in standing up. With the second good extra point by Andrew Salonek, it was 14-0.
On the next Falcons possession, Bunting threw his second interception when he tried escaping a sack and threw the ball right into the arms of Michael O'Callaghan. After three plays that gained double-digit yards, Springfield increased its lead to 20-0 on a Erickson to Johnson connection. A third extra point boot from Andrew Salonek made it 21-0 at halftime.
Ahlness opened the second half with a great kick return to RRC's 48, with Dylan Salonek plowing into the end zone with another stand up touchdown after a 4-yard carry.
Tigers punt returner Sam Baier brought a Falcons punt back 31 yards, setting the table for the final Springfield touchdown. For the second time. Erickson fooled the RRC defense with a fake handoff, then headed left to go in untouched for a 32-yard score, upping the Tigers' lead to the final 33-0 scoreboard showing.
Springfield finished the game with 345 total yards - 263 on the ground. Ahlness led all rushers with 71 yards, Dylan Salonek added 65 and Erickson ended with 54.
Springfield hosts Buffalo Lake-Hector, while RRC hosts New Ulm Cathedral next Friday night.