Springdale looks to keep slim playoff hopes alive
Saturday, October 12, 2019 | 11:06 PM
The mission is simple for the Springdale football team in its approach to staying alive in the chase for the playoffs in WPIAL Class A.
To quote the late Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis: “Just win, baby.”
That’s what the Dynamos did Friday evening under the lights at Oakmont’s Riverside Park as they were able to control rival Riverview on both sides of the ball and post a key 33-0 Eastern Conference victory.
“The guys did a good job of focusing on this week, taking care of business and not looking ahead,” said Springdale coach Seth Napierkowski, whose team turns its attention to Class A No. 2 Clairton (6-2, 4-0) at home this Friday.
“We know these next two weeks are going to be a challenge. Clairton always is a really good team. Leechburg is tough, and they will give us their best. We have to be prepared and ready to go.”
The only team eliminated from playoff contention in the Eastern Conference entering Friday’s games was Imani Christian. Napierkowski said he wants his players to focus on winning their final two games to give themselves a shot and see how everything else plays out.
Springdale (6-2, 2-2) won its second game in a row after a tough two-game stretch that saw it lose to Class A No. 1 Jeannette (43-0) and Greensburg Central Catholic (33-7).
They got back on track to start October with a 55-14 nonconference win against Northgate.
“The win over Northgate really gave us a boost of confidence,” senior running back Christian Vokes said.
The Dynamos offense Friday collected 198 yards rushing and 252 overall. The defense, led by defensive ends Josh Lang and Gage Howard and linebackers Brandon Green, Cavin Kindler, Ashton Krebs and Logan Bayne, was stout, limiting Riverview to 41 yards of total offense.
“Everyone on the field did their job and executed the gameplan,” said Vokes, who led the way with 78 yards and touchdown runs of 8 and 4 yards on 13 carries. He surpassed 900 rushing yards for the season and lifted his touchdown total to 15.
“It’s a team thing for us right now,” Kindler said. “In this sport, it’s not about being selfish. It’s about doing your part, whether it’s scoring a touchdown, making a big run, blocking well or making a play on defense.”
Demitri Fritch, a junior quarterback, ran the ball 10 times for 39 yards against the Raiders and was 6 of 8 passing for 54 yards, along with a touchdown to Kindler.
Kindler finished with 58 yards on nine rushing attempts, and Green found the end zone late in the game.
Fritch said he has gotten more and more confident at quarterback each week since emerging as the one to take over for sophomore Legend Ausk, who suffered a broken collar bone in Springdale’s Week 2 victory over Monessen.
“Losing Legend hurt us, and we were a little down,” Fritch said. “I was a little nervous at first, and it was a little rocky getting use to things at quarterback. But this being the fourth or fifth week in, I am feeling more and more comfortable in the pocket, reading the defenses and knowing my keys.”
Napierkowski said Fritch is one of many on the team willing to do a little bit of everything — offense, defense and special teams.
It will take a complete effort, he said, for the team to get to where it wants to be in a couple of weeks.
“The guys battled through a tough year last year (2-8 overall, 0-6 in the conference) and kept with it,” Napierkowski said. “They came ready to work this year, and we’ve done a lot of good things. They worked hard, and the fruits of their labor are showing. But there is still a lot left to accomplish.”
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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