SPRINGVILLE - It’s been the strength of the Midland football team all season long, and it was again when the Eagles made their trip to Springville Friday, Oct. 9, for the 2020 regular-season finale.
“Our defense just keeps getting the job done,” said Midland football coach Lennie Miller, as his defense not only kept the Eagles in the game against the talented Orioles, but also scored two of the team’s three touchdowns in what ended as a hard-fought 38-20 setback.
“Our games against Springville over the years have always been ones with mutual respect and have more of a rivalry type feel to them than any other team we play. Friday night was another case of two teams just battling it out. In the end we just failed to execute enough on the offensive end, and Springville did.”
Midland got the scoring started however, and they did it with defense as on the second snap of the game, Iziek Soper scooped up a Springville fumble and raced 16 yards into the end zone to give the visitors a very quick lead.
“Couldn’t have asked for a better start to the game,” Miller said. “We struggled to get our offense going on a consistent basis, and if we could have sustained a few drives and made that Springville defense work a little harder, this could have been an even closer game, if not even a different outcome.”
The Oriole offense answered with back-to-back touchdowns on their next two possessions and took a 16-6 lead after one quarter of play before the Eagle offense struck for a big play.
Midland’s Connor Martin got behind the Springville defense and Eagle quarterback Carson Hunter found him for a 36-yard scoring pass play that pulled the visitors at 16-14 after a successful two-point conversion run by Cayden Miller.
Again, Springville answered as Spencer DeMean raced 26-yards and into the end zone handing the hosts a 24-14 lead and were well on their way to padding that advantage just before the half before the Midland defense did it again.
With the Oriole offense at the Eagle one-yard line, Midland’s Zain Sauer grabbed another Springville fumble and took off 78 yards for the second defensive touchdown of the game for the visitors.
At the half, Midland had not only seized momentum, but trailed just 24-20.
“We were right there with a chance to beat a very good Springville team at the half,” Miller said. “We just did not seize the opportunity. The game kind of settled in during the third and fourth quarters with both defenses playing well and moving the ball became much more of a grind.”
Springville added a third quarter safety before tacking on two fourth quarter touchdowns to provide some separation.
“The second half became more of a fight as both teams settled in and we weren’t able to get back into the end zone again,” Miller said. “Tough to win when you don’t score any second half points, but you have to credit Springville, they made the plays down the stretch.”
Miller led the Eagle offense rushing for 42 yards on 13 carries as the visitors tallied 162 yards of total offense in the game.
Soper, Sauer and Kaleb Westphal all paced the Midland defense coming through with eight tackles each while Soper also tallied the lone quarterback sack for the visitors.
“Once again, as with most of our losses this season, it was the little things that did us in,” Miller said. “We get another crack at Springville in the playoff game Friday night and if we can get those little things straightened out and stay within our disciplines, the outcome could be different.”
Midland closes the 2020 regular season with a 3-3 overall record.