By Ronnie Hagood
SPRINGVILLE – Eight years of frustration came to an end in Tiger Stadium on Thursday night.
The Springville Tigers defeated their rival, St. Clair County, 51-6. The win for Springville is the first over the Saints since a 41-18 victory in 2011. The win caps off a season that saw the Tigers go 4-6 and finish seventh in Class 5A, Region 5.
“I’m happy for our kids and our coaches,” Springville head coach Michael Graben said. “No matter what our record is, they worked their tails off.”
As it has been all season for Springville, when the talent level is close to equal the Tigers are a tough team to beat. On senior night, this would remain true. The first score of the game would come from the receiving hands of senior Jace Hayes. Hayes scored on a 20-yard catch and run early in the first quarter. He would finish his final game as a Tiger with three receptions for 51 yards and one touchdown.
Hayes would also play the majority of the night on defense, as well.
It was the upperclassmen of Springville who put on a show against the Saints. Junior quarterback Pearson Baldwin accounted for six total touchdowns. He carried the ball 11 times for 107 yards with two rushing touchdowns.
Two of Baldwin’s four touchdown passes went to fellow junior, Ben Bianchi. Bianchi had two receptions for 89 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
“We played hard in every game but last week,” Graben said. “Our seniors played hard. They worked hard. This is a nice reward for them.”
Kobye Payton would finish his last game in the purple and gold with 16 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown. He also added a pair of receptions for 5 yards.
For DeAndre Baker, Bill Braman, Colby Briggs, Nick Giangrosso, Hayes, Braden Hughes, Bradyn Kyser, Noah Lee, Jackson Murphree, Blade Nairmore, Peyton, Austin Shoop, Bryce Storie, Skylor Strickland, Julian Williams and Zac Wilson this was the last time that they would suit up for Springville on the gridiron, but what a way to go out. Along with their teammates, they did something no other senior class has done in seven years: they defeated their rival, and they left it all on the field.
“I’m happy for our seniors,” Graben said. “They’ve busted their butts for four years. Hopefully, it helps us take the next step to get to where we go.”