SPRINGVILLE — A 16-point lead was gone. So was complete control of the game.
But the Springville Orioles didn’t act as if the sky was falling. They simply responded.
Spencer DeMean got loose for a 65-yard touchdown run on the first play after Midland had taken its first (and only) lead, and Springville escaped, 36-28, in an 8-Player first-round playoff football game Friday night at Allison Field.
“We stayed focused, executed the way we should, and that’s all there is to it,” DeMean said.
The Orioles (6-2) defeated Midland for the second time in eight days — it was 38-20 in last week’s regular-season finale — and advance to face No. 7 Easton Valley (7-1) in a second-rounder next week at Preston. Easton Valley whipped Dunkerton, 62-12, Friday.
Midland finished 3-4, but the Eagles were in it until the very end, when a fourth-down incompletion with 44 seconds left thwarted their final drive in the red zone.
Speaking of incompletions, Springville quarterback Bryce Wilson had none of them. Wilson completed all 12 of his passes for 179 yards to make a nice complement to DeMean’s 187 rushing yards.
“I know that if I get enough time, our receivers are good enough to catch every ball,” said Wilson, who threw three touchdowns passes — one each to DeMean, Luke Menster and Tommy Hagensick.
The one to Hagensick completed a seven-minute drive and gave the Orioles a 36-28 lead with 3:50 remaining.
Back to DeMean’s pivotal run.
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Down 16-0 and spinning its wheels offensively through most of the first half, Midland scored on Carson Hunter’s 13-yard run on the last play of the first half, and went into intermission within 16-8. Jamisen Dodge scored a pair of touchdowns, on the advancement of Hunter’s fumble and a 28-yard reception, to put Midland in front, 20-16.
The lead lasted 14 seconds.
After a touchback, DeMean took a handoff, started left, was bottled up, broke a tackle and found some space on the right sideline. His speed did the rest.
Springville won despite 12 penalties for 126 yards.
“You’ve just got to survive and move on and this point,” DeMean said. “Stuff didn’t go our way, but we got it done. And we can definitely do better.”
The Orioles run an innovative spread two-point-conversion set that scored on three of four opportunities. Luke Menster is the decision-maker, and threw for two passes in the formation. In another, Wilson caught a pass from Alex Koppes.
“There are a lot of different play calls,” Wilson said. “I didn’t even know if I was eligible to catch the ball.”
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