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Shovlin paces balanced Springfield attack

SPRINGFIELD >> The last thing Springfield head coach Chris Britton did before he left the field Friday night was pack up the end-zone camera.

“I’m not sure how much I’ll like what I see from this,” he said, referring to the film of the Cougars’ 35-7 Central League victory over Conestoga.

Springfield (2-0, 1-0) rolled up 202 yards on the ground and 173 yards through the air while limiting ’Stoga to 83 yards of total offense. The Cougars intercepted three passes and recovered one fumble.

What offset some of the positives was four turnovers — three fumbles and an interception — as well as a couple penalties at the wrong times that Springfield committed.

“There were some good things about the game, and I have to be happy with a win,” Britton said. “But we’ve got work to do. Conestoga’s a good team, and we can play better than we did against them tonight. We have some things that we have to work out.”

Senior Philip Shovlin led the Springfield ground game, picking up 135 yards on 10 carries, including a 19-yard dash that capped off the scoring in the fourth quarter.

“Every game should be like that,” Shovlin said. “Everything starts with the guys up front. We come out wanting to handle people, and we know we can depend on them.”

Matt Nolan, Derek Strain, Corey Brotschul and Alex Pinto were among the Cougars’ blockers who made things easier for the runners and junior quarterback Jack Psenicska (14-for-21 passing for 173 yards and three TDs).

“We’re just going to keep trying to get good at everything,” Psenicska said. “Our line is the best, and we can do a lot of things behind them.”

Psenicska’s touchdown passes covered 11 yards to Frank Durham Jr. (7 catches, 53 yards), 28 yards to Liam DiFonzo, and nine yards to Kyle Long.

“(Psenicska’s) a first-year quarterback this year, and I’m back this year,” Long said. “We know there are still things we need to work on.”

Senior Ja’Den McKenzie added 88 yards rushing on 16 carries, including a nine-yard run for Springfield’s first touchdown. He also took part in plenty of tackles from his outside linebacker post.

“The big thing is being aggressive to the ball,” McKenzie said. “We’re working on one game at a time, and getting better every time we play.”

Conestoga (0-2, 0-1) got its points in the last minute of the first half with the help of two major penalties called against Springfield. Quarterback Nick Braendel scrambled 14 yards to the end zone 29 seconds before halftime.

“I saw things that I liked,” Pioneers head coach Marquis Weeks said. “We played with toughness, were aggressive, and we showed some fight.

“We know we have to play a tough Haverford team next week that just beat Ridley. But I know we’ll look forward to that challenge.”

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