Forced out as the head football coach at Eagle Point High in January, Jacob Schauffler wasn't sure what direction he would go in the early aftermath...
EAGLE POINT — They were beaten up, tired and embarrassed, but the Springfield football team wasn't down for the count.
Not by a long shot.
The Millers, who trailed by 21 points at one point in the second quarter, rallied to defeat ninth-ranked Eagle Point 37-28 in Midwestern League action at Eagle Stadium on Friday night.
"It took them a while to stagger out of that corner and just realize it's football," Springfield head coach Dave Heuberger said.
A dazzling 73-yard touchdown run by Eagle Point senior Caleb Ash put the Eagles ahead 28-7 with 10:14 to go in the second quarter.
But there would be no more scoring for the home team, which saw its sterling first half erode into a footnote to a collapse.
Springfield kicked off its comeback campaign using a 38-yard TD strike by quarterback Trever Watson and a 9-yard scoring run by Latrell Tinsley to enter halftime down only by a score.
The Millers tacked on a 23-yard field goal to make it 28-24 Eagle Point with 17.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter.
Springfield saved its best for last, as Taylor Travess erupted for a 34-yard touchdown sprint that capped an 11-play, 80-yard drive and put his team in the lead for good with 5:34 to go.
On the ensuing drive, Eagle Point (2-2, 0-2 MWL) turned the ball over on downs. Watson took advantage immediately, breaking off a 34-yard TD run on the Millers' first play to seal the victory.
"You give a kid like that time to throw with good receivers or run and they are gonna beat you," Eagle Point head coach Jacob Schauffler said. "It's frustrating, but at the same time as a coach I'm not walking off the field shaking my head saying, 'How do we win, what do we do?' It's our own fault and if we clean that up we'll be OK."
The Eagles' final possession fizzled: Eagle Point quarterback Jorge Quintero found Jesse Sattler for a 20-yard pass before two incompletions, a 1-yard run and another incompletion closed any door of hope.
The Eagles' running attack and dogged defense headlined much of the first half. Statistically speaking, Eagle Point managed to outgain Springfield (3-1, 2-0) 300-243 on the ground overall.
"We didn't give up a ton of yardage," Schauffler said. "We just gave up a couple of really big plays."
And Eagle Point missed its shot at a big play — and to add to its slight lead — in the third quarter when it was denied at the goal line late in the period. On fourth-and-one, the Eagles were stopped shy on a run attempt.
Ash ran the ball 13 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns for Eagle Point.
Seth Arena tallied 75 rushing yards and a TD on seven attempts, Jakob Combs carried the ball 12 times for 64 yards and a score and Carlos Flores totalled 49 rushing yards on seven attempts.
Defensively, Bryson Baker helped lead the Eagles with three sacks and nine tackles. Ash had a sack and six tackles.
Eagle Point, which lost to Churchill 34-14 in its conference opener last Friday, next plays at North Eugene.
"I think in practice we need to work on discipline," Ash said.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email email@example.com