ROSENDALE — In what was likely the Flyway Confernece title game, against what will likely be its stiffest compeititioin until well into the playoffs, the Springs football team proved again it is worthy of its No. 1 ranking.
The Ledgers pounded Laconia, 37-7, on Friday to improve to 6-0.
“The coaches really psyched us up for this game,” said Springs senior Eric Feldner. “They were undefeated, we were undefeated. They were winning games by a lot, we were winning games by a lot. We were treating it like a confernece championship. It was a hard-fought battle, and a lot of fun.”
Feldner, a receiver and defensive back had two interceptions and two touchdown catches for the Ledgers (6-0, 5-0), who remained ranked No. 1 in the small school division of this week’s Associated Press poll.
It looked like it would be a game early when Laconia scored first. Senior star running back Cody Moon one-handed a swing pass and took it 58 yards for the game’s opening score.
Ike Floyd returned the ensuing kick 62 yards for Springs, which led to an Evan Henderson 3-yard keep to even the score. Henderson later had a 47-yard option keeper for a touchdown.
Floyd ran in for a 23-yard TD late in the first quarter after Feldner’s first interception gave Springs the ball at the Laconia 23.
The Ledgers led 20-7 when running back Darin Ward got heated up and moved the team into the red zone. Feldner took it from there when Henderson threw him a 16-yard pass down the sideline.
“The guy was quick; their corner was really good and on me all game,” Feldner said. “Evan threw it to the back shoulder and I turned my body a little bit to shield him (from the ball) and caught it.”
Laconia coach Mark Madigan said there’s little a defense can do when a quarterback fits the ball into a receiver like Henderson did.
Mitch Herron made a 37-yard field goal just before the half to give Springs a 23-7 advantage at the break.
Laconia opned the second half riding Moon. He carried seven times on the Spartans’ first possession of the half, but on fourth-and-5 near midfield, senior Jesse Tipton carried and got swamped by the Springs defense.
“You don’t want to be in fourth-and-5,” Madigan said. “You don’t need to be if you’re getting it done on the first three downs. You have to go with what you do best and that’s run the ball. You have to mix in the play-action (pass), but if you can’t protect your guy you have to get after it and we didn’t get it done.”
Another Henderson to Feldner touchdown two plays later made it 30-7, and as good as Springs defense was playing, the game was effectively over with 4:52 remaining in the third quarter.
“It was a real war out there and a testament to Laconia High School,” said Springs coach Bob Hyland. “They’re a very strong upcoming team and they’ll go a long way in the (playoffs).”
Ward ran for 105 yards on 12 carries for Springs, and Floyd tacked on 97 on 10 rushes.
The question most wanted answered, however, was how would Moon do against the stingy Springs defense? In five games, the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder’s lowest output was 186 yards. Friday he carried 34 times for 152.
“He’s a great running back; big guy, great feet, he runs hard all the time,” Feldner said. “We didn’t play as well as we could have, we didn’t wrap up very well. We tried our best. We have Matt Austin in the middle and he’s a really good linebacker. We just tried to free him up to make tackles.”