Friday night in Springville, NY was nothing short of a usual homecoming: crazy floats that featured everything from Prince to a giant, paper mache toilet, a homecoming princess on a dirtbike, some tractors, a live cow and a team devoted to pursuing what they call, “Purple Reign.” But what was new for a town full of creativity and tradition; for a town whose football program cites back to the 1800’s? Playing the Jamestown Red Raiders. Friday night was a trip into pastures new for the Springville Griffins, taking on a team they never-before faced, and defeating them 32-21.
The game kicked off after the traditional homecoming ceremony, where seniors John Domes and Alexis Sopko were crowned homecoming King and Queen, and three alumni were inducted into the Pop Warner Hall of Fame: Jenna Krzemien Muise (‘05), Alicia Ellis Applegate (‘05) and Dr. Jordan Baker-Horn (‘00).
Jamestown started out the game taking the field by storm, after Tariq Strudwick pulled an impressive 81-yard touchdown on the Red Raiders’ first possession. Fifty-seven seconds into the game and the Red Raiders had taken control with a 7-0 lead over the Griffins that would last into the second quarter.
Springville would take a nab at Jamestown’s lead by starting off the second quarter in the same fashion the Red Raiders started the first; pushing down the field for a explosive touchdown. Springvilles’ Ian Baker took the ball into the Red Raider endzone after a 93-yard run. Following a successful two-point conversion, Springville would lead 8-7 with 10:53 left in the second quarter.
After a Griffins’ kickoff, Jamestown would fumble the ball allowing for a Springville recovery. The Griffins would pick up the ball and take it to the end zone in the next play, with a 35-yard run by Marcus James. Topher Elkins brought down a solid two-point conversion, giving Springville a 16-7 lead with 9:01 left in the half. Jamestown, rough and ready, came in with Strudwick on a 22-yard touchdown catch with less than two minutes left in the first half.
At this point, Strudwick has made his second appearance in the Springville endzone. The score is 16-13 and the Griffins would pick up the ball. But how far could they go? With just a few seconds left on the clock, The Griffins hit the Red Raiders’ endzone after a short push by Marcus James. The two-point conversion would fall short, leaving it 22-13 at the half.
Marcus James came into the the 2016 season after transfering back to Springville from JFK, and said the touchdown “felt great; it felt great for the team.”
James stated he decided to return to Springville because “I wanted to come back and graduate with the guys, you know I missed them and everything.”
Going into the third quarter, both teams nearly had a combined 500 yards rushing, with Springville’s Baker 80 yards shy of surpassing his program’s 2,311 yard all-time career rushing record set by Mark Rendell (’94-’96).
No change in score was seen until the fourth quarter when a fumble into the Springville endzone by Jamestown Devan Jackson would give the Griffins another two points. Jamestown would recover with a touchdown by Francisco “Fran” Rodriguez. After a fumbled two-point conversion Jamestown would be catching up to Springville with a score of 24-19.
Griffins would retaliate with Baker on a 59-yard touchtown and a complete two-point conversion with 4:30 left in game. This 59-yard rush would also give Baker his yards needed to surpass Randell’s record. By the end of the game, Baker rushed 32 times for 318 yards; leaving his career rushing total at 2,357 yards.
The game would conclude after Jamestown gained another two points on a safety with 34 seconds left in the game. Final score: Springville 32, Jamestown 21.
Jamestown head coach Tom Langworthy said in an interview with WNYAthletics that “The team has been through some rough patches here, this season, but I’m proud of them because they stay together and they keep fighting. And frankly, I’m proud of them,” and that with the rest of the season “Everybody’s gotta get better and we just gotta keep working.”
After the game, Baker came to say that the idea of “Purple Reign,” started in years past, still played a role in the team’s attitude today, saying “It’s a huge psych to all the guys on the field, it’s still high and goin’ as we say.”
Springville found that purple reigned on Pop Warner Field, for Homecoming 2016.
Leave a Reply