Replacing three standout offensive players from an 11-3 team that made the state semifinals the previous year is a difficult task.
The Springfield football team is learning that the hard way as several fumbles and a lack of offensive rhythm led to a 35-0 loss at East Nashville Friday night.
“When you come out here and you’re scrimmaging, you’ve got to hold on to the ball,” Springfield coach Dustin Wilson said. “It’s all a work in progress. That’s what preseason is for.”
Quarterback Bryan Hayes, running back Keith Jones and wide receiver Dayron Johnson all graduated in May, leaving the Yellow Jackets to retool their offensive personnel.
Hayes threw for 1,871 yards and 30 touchdowns, Jones ran for 1,092 yards and nine scores and Johnson hauled in 1,146 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns last season. He was also named the Main Street Preps/Connection Robertson County Player of the Year.
“It’s high school football – you graduate (players) and have classes that are big or small,” Wilson said. “You teach what you’ve got. Those kids are gone, but this 2020 class is learning their way.”
Senior Kevontez Hudson has taken over at quarterback, but his first two drives against East Nashville ended in fumbles. Both miscues led to Eagle touchdowns.
“Kevontez didn’t have the best night,” Wilson said. “But that’s learning. If you make a bad play, your team can’t suffer for it all night long.”
Backup Austyn Day came in for the third series, which also ended with a Springfield fumble. The two signal callers then rotated the rest of the night. Wilson said he wanted to get both players experience even tough Hudson is still the projected starter.
“Both of them do things well,” Wilson said. “Austyn is good enough to play, for sure. But we’ll stay with (Kevontez) and see how it goes.”
Late in the contest, Hudson had the Yellow Jacket offense rolling after a long completion to senior fullback Christian Trujillo. Hudson’s fourth-down pass later bounced off the hands of junior receiver Gabe Kelly at the goal line.
“We had some dropped passes, some bad snaps,” Wilson said. “We have to get experience quickly. If we could scrimmage every day and come out of it heathy, we would keep doing it.”
Wilson remained positive and said the team would learn from its mistakes by watching film. Springfield will battle Cheatham County in the Robertson County Jamboree at East Robertson on Friday, Aug. 16.
“That’s the biggest teaching tool in the game,” he said. “If they want to learn, they’ll get the opportunity to learn in the film room.”