By Ronnie Hagood
CROSSVILLE – Mother Nature was the only thing that could slow the Springville Tigers down on Friday night as they traveled to Sand Mountain and returned with a 44-14 win over the Crossville Lions in a game that featured a 45-minute weather delay.
“We scored every time but the first time that we had the ball,” Springville head coach Michael Graben said. “(Crossville’s) coach does a great job. He’s in the same boat that we are, just trying to get out of a losing culture.”
After a scoreless first quarter, Springville got on the board early in the second thanks to a 30-yard field goal from Hunter Ambrose. Drew Platts then gave the Tigers a 10-0 lead when Pearson Baldwin found him wide open for 32-yards and the score.
Crossville tried to make it a game in the second quarter. It scored on an 8-yard touchdown pass from Hunter Haston to Harley Hicks, cutting the Springville lead to 10-7. After another drive down the field by the Tigers, Kobye Peyton scampered in from 5 yards, extending the Springville lead back to 10, 17-7. The Lions made every attempt possible with lightning crashing in the background to score before halftime. Luke Richardson would intercept a pass from Haston in the endzone as the clock expired in the first half.
The second half took a while to get started after lightning in the area delayed the game for 45 minutes, but when the teams returned to the field, the Tigers offense took off. Coming out of the locker room, Springville went on a 5:14 scoring drive capped off with a 15-yard touchdown reception from Payton.
The Tigers defense was all over the place in the game, despite the occasional chunk yardage play. Springville all but had their way with Crossville’s offense. Multiple turnovers on downs, a pair of interceptions, controlling the Lions option attack and making the long night miserable for Crossville.
The Tigers would tack on a couple of more touchdowns on the night with the final score coming on a 65-yard kickoff return from Payton. Payton ended the night with a rushing, receiving and kick return touchdown. Baldwin had a pair of rushing touchdowns of his own in the game.
“He is 160 freaking pounds,” Graben said of Payton. “And he gives you everything he’s got. I don’t want to say that he is the biggest surprise, but he is the one I am most proud of. He has been a leader all summer. He works hard in the weight room. I’m glad to see good things happen to him.”
The win makes the Springville Tigers 3-3 on the season with all three wins coming in non-regional play. Next up for the Tigers is a trip to Center Point High School to face the Eagles. Currently, Center Point is tied for first in Class 5A Region 5 with a 3-0 record. Springville is 0-3 in area play.
“We have to expect to win,” Graben said.