Springfield stays unbeaten with shutout of Fairmont

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Highlights: Springfield beats Fairmont on Sept. 24, 2021

Anthony Brown returns to action with 48-yard touchdown catch

KETTERING --Fairmont averaged 22.6 points in its first five football games and didn’t score fewer than 14 points thanks to the most productive rushing game (239.5 yards per game) in the Greater Western Ohio Conference.

Then Springfield, ranked fourth in Division I, proved once again why it’s one of the best teams in Ohio by blanking Fairmont 17-0 on Friday in Week 6 of the high school football season. The Wildcats (5-0, 3-0) remain the only undefeated team in the GWOC.

The Firebirds didn’t threaten to score, and Springfield didn’t need to score after scoring all its points in the first half. The game moved at a rapid pace, taking just under two hours.

“They’re really good up front,” Fairmont coach David Miller said of Springfield. “We struggled all night up front. That’s a credit to them. They’re a really good football team. Our defense, really other than a couple plays, it was a heck of an effort by them, but we’ve got a lot of work to do on offense. Coach (Maurice) Douglass, he’s got one heck of a team over there. We knew going in we were going to have our hands full, and sure enough, they were as good as advertised.”

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Fairmont had one possession in the first 20 minutes. Springfield had two time-consuming drives in that stretch. The first ended with a 28-yard field goal by Cole Yost with 5 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first quarter. The second ended with a 10-yard touchdown run by Te’Sean Smoot with 3:29 left in the half.

Fairmont’s second drive didn’t last long, and Springfield got the ball near midfield after a punt. Smoot then threw a 48-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Brown as the Wildcats extended their lead to 17-0 with 1:04 left in the half.

Brown caught five passes for 81 yards in his first appearance since suffering a shoulder injury in the season-opening 24-20 victory against Saint Ignatius.

“Being out for four weeks and finally getting the feel of a touchdown, it was crazy,” Brown said.

Smoot completed 15 of 20 passes for 196 yards. Christian McMillian caught five passes for 55 yards.

The story of the game, however, was the play of Springfield’s defense. The Wildcats recorded their second straight shutout. They have not allowed a point in the last 10 quarters, holding Wayne scoreless in the second half in a 21-14 victory on Sept. 10 and then beating Beavercreek 42-0.

Springfield gained 266 yards and held Fairmont to 58 yards and 1.7 yards per carry. Fairmont’s Drew Baker, the GWOC’s leading rusher with 155.8 yards per game, was held to 29 yards on 14 carries.

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Douglass credited the discipline of his defenders, who didn’t give up a run of longer than 13 yards against Fairmont’s triple option. Fairmont rushed for 244 yards against Springfield a year ago in a game the Wildcats won 27-21.

“We want to be the best defense,” Douglass said, “and I think tonight we did a good job of executing the game plan. We put them in some tough positions as far as third down. They don’t like to throw the ball a lot. Our scout team this week gave us a great simulation of this offense because it’s very hard to do in practice.”

Springfield will play at Springboro (3-2, 2-1), which lost 45-26 at Centerville (5-1, 3-0) on Friday. in Week 7.

Fairmont (4-2, 1-2) lost its second straight game after a 4-0 start. The Firebirds play at Miamisburg (4-2, -2) in Week 7.

“We’ve just got to improve,” Miller said. “That’s what we talked about. We’ve done some good things in the five weeks before this, and we did some good things tonight. We’ve just got to put it all together. (Springfield’s) one of the best teams in the state of Ohio. They’ve been a state semifinalist for the last two years, and you can see why.”