Springfield stops Sapnas to stay unbeaten

NEWTOWN SQUARE — The Central League’s top team has earned the respect of Delaware County’s top running back.

Springfield clinched at least a share of the league crown with a definitive 28-7 victory over Marple Newtown, during which coach Chris Britton’s defense shut down dynamic back Adrian Sapnas.

Sapnas, the Tigers’ senior running back and the county’s top rusher, had been averaging 199 ground yards per game. Against Springfield, he totaled a season-low 37 yards on 26 carries — all but three of which went for four or fewer yards.

“There just wasn’t that much there against them,’ Sapnas said. “They’ve got good linebackers. Their D-ends are good. Their front seven are very good. They’re one of the best, if not the best defenses I’ve seen — them or Ridley.’

Springfield (9-0, 8-0) locked up at least a piece of its first Central League title since 1994 behind a stout defensive effort that stymied Marple Newtown (4-5, 4-4) and limited the Tigers to 3.1 yards per offensive snap.

Senior nose tackle Brian Layden had 2½ sacks, upping his season total to 18. Junior defensive end Dan Archibong also took down Marple Newtown quarterback Marcus Weathers for 2½ sacks. And the Cougars forced two turnovers.

“He ran hard and kept going after he got hit,’ Layden said. “We plugged the middle and sealed off the outside. We did our studying and we were prepared. He’s a great player.’

In a first half in which Marple Newtown outgained Springfield, it was a special-teams play that gave the Cougars a halftime lead.

Tigers kicker George Lambritsios booted a 38-yard field goal attempt into his linemen and linebacker Dylan Power scooped up the bouncing ball and returned it 65 yards for the second-quarter touchdown. It was Power’s first score in more than a year, when he once played both sides of the ball.

“Anybody could’ve been there,’ said Power, who contributed 10 tackles on defense. “I was just lucky.’

Springfield padded its 7-0 lead with three third-quarter touchdown passes from quarterback Brian Allen. The senior distributed touchdown passes to Quideer Wimes (11 yards), Colin Braconnier (35 yards) and James Harris (19 yards) to turn a 7-0 nailbiter into a 28-0 blowout.

Allen finished with 121 yards passing and those three touchdowns. He also had 64 yards on the ground. Braconnier logged 55 yards rushing, to go with his receiving touchdown.

The reason Springfield won, however, was its defense.

It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when Marple Newtown scored, ending a seven-quarter shutout streak by Springfield’s defense. Heading into the third quarter, Sapnas had 15 yards on 18 carries, before churning out 22 yards more in the final period. Sapnas, who has eclipsed 200 yards rushing in six of nine games this season, hadn’t posted a yardage total this low since Sept. 19 at Ridley, when he had 41.

“Basically,’ Power said, “the whole Marple Newotnw offense revolves around him. We just focused on him. He runs hard. We were told to hit him low.’

And it led Springfield to clinch at least a share of the Central League title.

“It’s 20 years in the making,’ Layden said. “Really, 1994 was the last time we won a share of the Central League. We’ve always had the ability to be great. Now we’re stepping up to it and going for it.’


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