Second Stringers: Springfield ready for first football season in 49 years

Image

Springfield Wildcats

“A New Breed of Cat.” To many, seeing this on the back of a high school football shirt would only cause confusion.

They would be right to be a little confused, too. But that is exactly what the new Springfield High School football team has on the back on their team shirts.

Then again, the story of the Springfield Wildcats is a confusing one.


SPRINGFIELD – “A New Breed of Cat.” To many, seeing this on the back of a high school football shirt would only cause confusion.

They would be right to be a little confused, too. But that is exactly what the new Springfield High School football team has on the back on their team shirts.

Then again, the story of the Springfield Wildcats is a confusing one.

The original Springfield High School closed it doors in the spring of 1960. The school was too small for the amount of students it held, so the Springfield City Schools decided to split Springfield into two schools. As a result, Springfield North High School and Springfield South High School were born.

Now, the exact opposite is happening.

Springfield North and Springfield South High Schools closed their doors last spring, as the decision was made to combine the two schools. Now, Springfield High School has returned. And, along with the new high school, the Wildcats a preparing a new approach to football.

“I’m glad to be involved in it,” Springfield head coach Rick Robertson said.

Robertson, who coached at Springfield North early in his career, returned to Springfield from Kettering Fairmont, where he was the athletic director.

“We’ve shown good progress over the spring in the weight room, and now we’re showing it on the field,” Robertson said. The Springfield players have cooperated with each other, and Springfield coaches report no animosity between former North High School players and former South High School players.

“There are no hard feelings between players,” Robertson said.

Springfield, along with the majority of the state, began practice last Thursday, July 31. Thursday was the first day football practice was permitted by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

“We’re getting there,” Robertson said. “Practice takes time. Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

Springfield, like other schools, uses a “two-a-day” schedule, as in they have two practices a day. The OHSAA mandates that football practices begin with a five-day, non-contact period. According to the OHSAA, this five-day, non-contact period “…allows players to become accustomed to the heat and humidity.” No pads may be worn on the first two days, and helmets are permitted. Shoulder pads are permitted on the third day, but contact is still prohibited. Full equipment is permitted to be used on the fifth day, but contact is still prohibited. Teams are allowed to practice with full contact on the sixth day.

“You’re a little limited in what you can do in the first few days,” Robertson said. “But we get a lot done. We learn a lot, and then we put it to work later.”

“It’s exciting to see our numbers, though,” Robertson continued. “We’ve consistently had numbers in the sixties during our summer work out program. Now [that practice has started], we have over ninety players, including over thirty incoming freshman. The typical coach always wants more, but we’re in very good shape.”

Springfield is now working to prepare for a tough regular season. Besides the strong GWOC-Central opponents in Centerville, Wayne, and Northmont, the Wildcats also have to face Pickerington Central. Central, who will play against the Wildcats at Evans Stadium on August 29, has two players on their team who have given verbal commitments to Ohio State. Springfield opens the season on August 22 at Hamilton.

“Our schedule will strengthen us this year,” Robertson commented. “This will give our younger players the opportunity to prove themselves.”

Meanwhile, the Wildcats have a grueling practice schedule ahead of them. Springfield practices from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays and from 8:00 a.m. to 1:20 p.m. on Saturdays. In addition, Springfield has two scrimmage games. The Wildcats travel to Mason for their first scrimmage game on Saturday, August 9, at 10 a.m. Springfield’s second scrimmage game is at Fairborn on Friday, August 15, at 7:00 p.m.

“We’ve seen a lot of people step up on both sides of the ball,” Robertson said. “The key thing is to work with them to make them consistent.”

“That’s what we’re doing,” Robertson said in conclusion. “We’re making ‘A New Breed of Cat’.”

I guess the back of the shirts are not so confusing after all.

Second Stringers is a JJHuddle.com program in which high school writers are able to submit and publish online articles of their own. For more information click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *