SPRINGVILLE—The Springville football team couldn’t have come any closer to victory than in its home opener against Medina Sept. 14 at Pop Warner Field. Ending with 28-24 loss, the Griffins had the lead for nearly 47 of the game’s 48 minutes.
Medina converted a fourth-down play on the 1-yard line for the go-ahead score with just 74 seconds left.
Even though Springville allowed the touchdown, the effort to stop them with Medina needing four plays to get five yards did not go unnoticed by the head coach Rob Valenti.
“That was a huge testament to the character of the kids that we have this year,” he said. “In previous seasons after having given up a big play that outcome would have been a foregone conclusion, but that wasn’t the case with this group.”
For the second week in a row, the Griffins set a school record, with Topher Elkins recording a 91 yard kick return.
The game started well for the Griffins after Jackson Richert recovered a fumble by Medina on the game’s opening kickoff. Springville got as deep as the 6-yard line before Jake Schreiber converted his first field-goal attempt of the season from 31 yards out and a 3-0 lead about two minutes into the game.
For Schreiber, he raced from his Springville boys soccer game at Alden back to Springville just in time.
“There was a lot of adrenaline going from each game, in a good way, but I was getting ready to go out there and do my thing just like in practice. Line up, count my steps and kick the ball,” Schreiber said of his first varsity football experience.
Medina got its first points of the game on a punt return, and for about 10 seconds had a four-point lead at 7-3 until Elkins’ record-breaking return restored Springville’s lead at 10-7, after about five minutes of first-quarter action.
Medina was knocking at the door in the closing minutes of the first with the ball inside Springville’s 5-yard line, but an errant snap over the Medina quarterback’s head gave Masin Field an easy sack and the Mustangs ended up losing the ball on downs.
Bryson Black capped off a nice Springville drive with a 5-yard run to open the second quarter scoring that gave the Griffins a double-digit lead at 17-7, but Medina responded with its next possession and a score of its own. The extra point attempt was blocked by Alex Francisco that made it a 17-13 game with about five minutes left in the half.
Second-half scoring decided the game with Springville scoring once and Medina twice. Both teams scored late in the third quarter with Nick Emmick scoring on a quarterback keeper for a 24-13 lead. Medina kept pace with a score of its own just three minutes later that included a 2-point conversion to make it 24-21.
Neither team could move the ball for most of the fourth quarter until Medina converted a long pass play to the Springville 5-yard line. Elkins made a touchdown-saving tackle by catching the Medina receiver from behind.
The Springville defense was at its best when it was needed most. The first two Medina plays resulted in losses with Sean Barry doing most of the damage. On a third-and-goal from the 12, Medina’s quarterback got to the 1-yard line that put the game on the line with for one yard with one play left for Medina.
The Mustangs converted and left 74 seconds for Springville to respond. The Griffs final drive ended at the Medina 13-yard line after an interception.
“It was disappointing, but it was like coaching two different teams from week one to week two. The intensity, the effort and the focus was just unbelievably better,” Valenti said. “I feel bad for them, because I think they deserved to win, but that’s not how it works all the time.”
Emmick attempted 19 passes and completed 10 for 86 yards with 1 interception. Black led the team in rushing with 79 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown, while Emmick added 77 yards from 19 carries with one touchdown. Schreiber scored six points, one field goal and three points after touchdowns. Richert led all receivers with four catches for 43 yards, followed by Black with three catches, 17 yards and Barry with two, 19 yards. On defense, Barry led all players with 10 tackles, nine solo, with one sack and four tackles-for-loss.
Springville travels to Olean this week for a 7 p.m. start in a key division game.