Pine looks to even District 9-2A record tonight at Springfield

Published 1:21 pm Friday, September 29, 2017

Pine is on the road tonight in District 9-2A action, as the Raiders travel to Springfield to take on the Bulldogs.
Both teams enter tonight’s matchup with 2-2 overall records and both lost their district openers last week.
Pine fell to St. Helena College & Career Academy, 27-14, last Friday, and the Raiders are ranked No. 11 in the unofficial LHSAA Class 2A power rankings.
“It’s a big week coming off of a loss,” Pine coach Bradley Seal said. “We need to get back on the right track and we’ve got a good opportunity against Springfield.”
Last week, Pine and St. Helena had a lightning delay.
Seal said he doesn’t think the delay affected the players and added that he felt his team responded well.
“I thought overall, we played well. In the end, we gave up a defensive touchdown (fumble return on an option) and a special teams touchdown. You’re not going to win games when that happens,” Seal said.
Seal praised the play of lineman Brendon Kelley.
“I thought we played solid as a team. Offensively and defensively, (Kelley) had his best game of the year,” Seal said.
Offensively last week, Delvric Dillon ran 21 times for 84 yards and a touchdown. Jakyran Handy had 15 attempts for 60 yards and he scored a two-point conversion. Damarea Odom had nine carries for 50 yards and a catch for 45 yards. Joey Seal threw for 60 yards and ran for 30 and a score.
Pine won last year’s game, 42-21.
Springfield is 2-2. The Bulldogs began the season with wins over Ascension Christian and Cohen College Prep, 34-7 and 34-24, respectively. The last two weeks have been losses to Albany and Northlake Christian School, by respective scores of 56-8 and 21-0. In the game against Northlake Christian, the Wolverines took a 21-0 lead into halftime before the teams played a scoreless second half.
“We had a lot of penalties early in the game and fell behind (last week),” Springfield coach Ryan Serpas said. “We had a couple of bad breaks go against us. Our kids started dropping their heads. We went in at halftime and took care of some things. We kind of regrouped and got the kids minds set right.
“You’re dealing with teenage boys and you could tell they were affected by the early penalties. Going into halftime, it was about forgetting what happened and playing a good second half.”
Sawyer Blankenship is the team’s quarterback. Serpas said he’s the Bulldogs’ leading rusher and does a great job of orchestrating the team’s offense.
Taylor Barnett is the team’s fullback, with Tylan Armstrong and Colten Davis at running back. The receivers are Will Huffer, Trent Martin and Cameron Bonura.
“The first couple of games, we were able to kind of move up and down the field and we averaged about 300 yards a game,” Serpas said. “The last couple of games, it’s been tougher. We’ve had a step up in competition. Our kids are still adjusting. The second half was a big improvement last week and I expect us to be much improved this week.”
Springfield’s top defenders include linebacker J.L. Fryson and lineman Isaiah Palmer.