After having won the annual "trophy game" the previous five years, the Springfield High School football team off finished a rough, two-win season by having to surrender the hardware to rival Bellows Falls, after falling to the Terriers 42-24 at Hadley Field in Westminster.
Although it was a pretty close game early on, the Bellows Falls' running game would prove too much for a depleted Springfield roster that was down to just 19 healthy players on the roster. By games' end, the Terriers had worn down the Cosmos en route to the 18-point victory. "I am really happy for the boys because it has been a while since we've had the trophy, but I am especially happy for our seniors," Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby said after the win.
However, Springfield got the ball first and started well, feeding senior running back Billy Wheeler a half dozen times en route to three consecutive first downs, but the drive stalled when Cosmos' quarterback (sophomore) J.T. Therrian was flagged for intentional grounding, and then nearly threw an interception, the Cosmos were forced to punt.
After a nice punt return from junior Will Bourne, on second down B.F. junior Jeremy Kilburn took a quarterback-keeper down the left side line for a 25-yard gain and a first down inside the Springfield 20-yard line. Four plays later senior running back Ryan Heyward took a hand off down the right sideline 39-yards for a 6-0 lead. Heyward then took the two-point conversion to the left pylon and it was 8-0 halfway through the first quarter.
On the next kick off, Cosmos' junior Jake Patoine fumbled and BF senior Cam Howe recovered it inside the Springfield 25-yard line. Two plays later Hayward took a hand off up the middle, bounced it to the outside and just got inside the right pylon for the touchdown. The extra point was blocked, but with just over four minutes left in the quarter and Bellows Falls had a 14-0 lead.
The Cosmos came back with a drive of their own, however, converting five consecutive first downs and a first-and goal inside the B.F. 10-yard line. Two plays later Wheeler busted over the goal line and after a Therrian two-point conversion, it was 14-8 with just over a minute left in the quarter.
After the kick off and another quarterback-keeper from Kilburn ended the quarter, Springfield caught a break when Heyward fumbled on the first play of the second quarter, giving the Cosmos the ball inside the BF 40-yard line. But after an 11-yard pass completion to Wheeler, the Purple Gang defense smothered QB Therrian on two straight plays to stop the drive. Junior Bruce Wells was especially effective, registering a sack on one play and QB-pressure on another.
After a another nice return on the punt from Bourne, Bellows Falls faced a third down just inside the 40-yard line when Kilburn threw a perfect strike to Bourne down the right sideline for touchdown and a 20-8 lead for BF after a missed two-pointer.
But on the next drive, the Terriers helped Springfield sustain a drive with two, costly 15-yard penalties (roughing the passer, unsportsman-like conduct) which gave Springfield a first and goal inside the BF 10-yard line. Billy Wheeler then busted another run over the goal line and after a two-point conversion run from junior Kirk Perham, the BF lead was down to 20-16.
With just under three minutes left in the half, the Terriers struck again when Kilburn threw a touchdown pass to Brendan Hackett , and it was 28-16 after a two-point run from Heyward. The Cosmos would try to get the ball downfield before the half, but another sack from the junior Wells and then an interception from Howe gave BF the ball inside the Springfield 30-yard line.
Two plays later and with just 7.9 ticks on the clock before half, Kilburn once again hit Bourne for a 33-yard touchdown and a 34-16 halftime lead. This appeared to be the knock-out punch for the Terriers, giving them a comfortable 18-point lead leading into the second half. Bellows Falls got the ball first in the second half and immediately drove down the field to set up the next touchdown, another QB-keeper from Kilburn and after a two-pointer conversion from Bourne, it was 42-16 after three quarters.
The Cosmos would score another touchdown late in the game when junior Darius Hosten caught a halfback-option pass from Wheeler that covered 44-yards. After a two-pointer by Wheeler, the final score was 42-24. It marked the first win in "The Trophy" game for the Terriers in five years, dating back to former BF coach Bis Bisbee's final year at the helm.
For Bellows Falls and after finishing with a 6-1 division record, the Terriers will host a playoff game next weekend. "Our seniors have had a bitter taste in their mouth over the Springfield game for a few years now, so it is good for them to finally taste victory."
For the Cosmos, it was the end of a tough first season under head coach Jack Cohun, but despite low numbers and not much depth, his team played hard until the final whistle. "We have a nice junior class coming back, but we know we have to work on the depth chart,' coach Cohun said after the game. "Some teams would have turned off the faucet, but we didn't. These kids played hard until the end."