Springfield, which finished fourth in Region 5-4A during the regular season, upset Region 6-4A champion Lipscomb 27-14 in the opening round of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association’s Class 4A playoffs.
The Yellow Jackets (6-5) play at Maplewood (8-3) on Friday in the second round after the Panthers beat Hillwood 47-14 in their playoff game. Maplewood beat Springfield 27-13 on Sept. 2.
Here are five reasons why Springfield upset Lipscomb (7-3) to win a playoff game for the third consecutive year.
Springfield’s defense kept Lipscomb Academy stagnant on defense throughout the game, holding the Mustangs to just 176 total yards. And 96 of those yards came on Lipscomb’s two first-half scoring drives.
Springfield’s James Davis and Brian Hayes each picked off a Logan Sakarapanee pass in the game. Davis and Hayes also recorded five tackles. Josh Johns led Springfield with 11 tackles. Springfield also recovered two fumbles.
Run Jackets run
Springfield churned out the yards on the ground. Of Springfield’s 248 yards on offense, the Yellow Jackets amassed 242 rushing yards on 37 carries (6.5 yards per carry).
Running back Alan Gardner had 17 carries for 82 yards. Teammate Dayron Johnson had 87 yards on seven carries.
And quarterback Dewayne Buckner, who was 5 of 5 passing for just six yards, rushed for 64 yards on 10 carries.
Trailing 14-7 at halftime, Springfield didn’t waffle on its game plan of running the football.
Buckner, Gardner and Johnson all capped second-half drives with scores.
Buckner capped a nine-play, 58-yard drive with a touchdown on a 9-yard quarterback keeper with 6:15 left in the third quarter to tie the game.
Gardner gave the Yellow Jackets their first lead on a 13-yard TD run to cap a three-play, 48-yard drive with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
Johnson then ended the scoring when he broke free for a 26-yard score with 9:56 left. That capped a five-play, 63-yard drive that ate up 1:53 of the fourth quarter.
Reitmaier a non-factor on defense
Perhaps the part not in the box score that stood out for the Yellow Jackets was how Lipscomb Academy defensive tackle Rutger Reitmaier was a non-factor on defense. The Oregon commitment and U.S. Army All-American was held to just three tackles, including two solo tackles.
Reitmaier, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound athlete, entered the postseason with 51 tackles, including 21.5 for loss. He also had seven sacks.
Strength of region play pays off
All four teams from Region 5-4A beat their 6-4A counterparts leading to a pair of 5-4A rematches for the second round of the playoffs.
Springfield plays at Maplewood. Macon County plays at Region 5-4A champion Pearl-Cohn.
The Yellow Jackets lost in the regular season to all three 5-4A playoff foes.
However the strength of 5-4A, combined with playing Class 5A playoff foes Beech, Gallatin and Class 4A playoff foe Kenwood paid off Friday night.
Reach Tom Kreager at 615-259-8089 and on Twitter @Kreager.
Springfield (6-5) at Maplewood (8-3)
When: 7 p.m.
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