Prep Football

Springville football returns versatile lineup on offense and defense

Orioles expect to be 8-Player contender after narrowly missing playoffs last season

Springville football coach Joe Martin, watching his players practice last season, has high hopes for the 2020 season. (T
Springville football coach Joe Martin, watching his players practice last season, has high hopes for the 2020 season. (The Gazette)

SPRINGVILLE — In an offseason brimming with obstacles, Springville hopes to persevere with its unique combination of experience, versatility and team chemistry in what could prove to be another highly competitive 8-Player district.

Springville finished 7-3 in 2019, narrowly missing the playoffs in a loaded District 3 that had three playoff qualifiers. And while making the playoffs won’t be an obstacle (due to the 2020 playoff format), the Orioles have their sights set on a deep postseason run — with the ingredients to do so.

“We’re pretty fortunate this year, we have 10 seniors coming back,” said Springville Coach Joe Martin. “For 8-Player, that’s probably unique.”

As for versatility, how about starting last year’s second-team all-district center, Bryce Wilson, at quarterback?

“Bryce actually was our JV quarterback two years ago,” Martin said. “So, he went from quarterback to center, to now back to playing quarterback. I think he’s going to do a really good job filling those shoes. He’s calm and composed, which is really what we need from that position.”

While Wilson will primarily be receiving the snaps, Springville will present a variety of offensive looks, including the I-formation, a spread and a “wildcat-type formation.”

“We also do, if I had to guess, maybe 30 percent of a wildcat-type of offense where we have our running back back there,” Martin said. “So that plays into it a little bit too, where it’s not always our quarterback in position to take the snap. The benefit of that is, there may be one play where Bryce is at quarterback, and the very next play, he’s at center. It’s kind of a hidden versatility.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Wilson will take over an offense that averaged 5.8 touchdowns and 415 all-purpose yards per game last season. Wilson will be taking the reigns from Kyle Koppes, who had been Springville’s starting quarterback each of the previous three seasons.

“I’m excited to play quarterback because it’s a whole new perspective of the game from center,” Wilson said.

Wilson’s teammates, particularly Alex Koppes (Kyle’s younger brother), have confidence Wilson will be ready to lead the offense.

“As far as Bryce at quarterback, I’ve played enough football and other sports with him to know that he will do his best to be consistent and play within himself,” Koppes said. “Me and many other guys in our offense played last year so there should be some good connections.”

Koppes will be Springville’s “deep threat” this season, according to Martin. Joining Koppes at receiver is Wilson’s cousin, Luke Menster, who led the team with 425 receiving yards a year ago.

“It’s been pretty cool to be able to catch passes from him (Wilson) because we grew up playing catch together in the backyard, since we live right by each other,” Menster said.

Another offensive asset is Spencer DeMean, last season’s leading rusher. DeMean ran for 1,043 yards and 11 TDs and also caught 20 passes for 339 yards and five TDs.

“Spencer’s the prototypical running back — he runs hard, he’s very explosive,” Martin said. “He’s taken more of a leadership role in the offense, being another almost coach on the field.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Martin hopes DeMean’s experience in the backfield will help ease Wilson’s transition to quarterback.

“It definitely made Bryce feel a lot more comfortable having someone who’s as experienced as Spencer is, because he has a lot of tools that Bryce can benefit from,” Martin said.

“My knowledge of the offense from the backfield position should help the quarterback transition with timing and execution to make the process a little quicker and more efficient,” DeMean said. “I will do whatever is needed of me to accomplish the level of success I feel the team is capable of this year.”

Defensively, the Orioles will be bringing back plenty of experience, with six of last season’s eight starters returning to the lineup. Martin expects his defensive unit to be versatile, as well.

“There really isn’t a wrong spot to go on defense right now,” Martin said. “We have about seven or eight kids who can play linebacker and line. It’s going to be something that other offenses have issues with, we hope.”

Springville returns its leading tackler in Grant Gloeckner, who compiled 73 total tackles in 2019. While Gloeckner will help anchor the defensive front, Alex Koppes and Menster will return to help secure the secondary. Koppes led the team in interceptions with five in 2019.

“In 8-Player, it seems like people will either want to run right at you or try to spread you out and throw all over the place,” Martin said. “I think we have the ability to be able to defend both of those, again with our versatility.”

While there have been plenty of obstacles that have made football preparation a challenge this offseason, such as workout restrictions and missing the first few days of practice for “community cleanup,” Martin expects this group to thrive due to the team’s cohesiveness.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“This is now my 10th year as the head football coach at Springville and this is by far the tightest group, community-wise, that I’ve been around,” he said. “And I think that’s really special. It shows their character of how much they truly do believe in what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.”

The Orioles open the season at home against Central City in the Tractor Bowl on Aug. 28.

Springville, at a glance

Coach: Joe Martin (10th year at Springville, 50-41 overall record)

Last year: 7-3, did not make playoffs

Top returners: RB/DB Spencer DeMean, RB/LB Grant Gloeckner, QB/C Bryce Wilson, WR/DB Alex Koppes, WR/DB Luke Menster, DE Jack Hoogland, DE Michael Mentzer

2020 schedule:

Aug. 28 — Central City

Sept. 4 — at Elkader Central

Sept. 11 — Clarksville

Sept. 18 — Easton Valley

Sept. 25 — at Don Bosco

Oct. 2 — at Lansing Kee

Oct. 9 — Midland

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.