WICHITA FALLS —
A high-flying passing attack and a relentless running game were the main attractions Friday, as the Springtown Porcupines returned to the playoffs taking on the Vernon Lions in a Class 3A bi-district tilt at Memorial Stadium. On paper, with common opponents in their slate for the 2012 season, as well as similar outcomes against those opponents, the Porcupines and Lions looked to be a match made in football fan heaven.
And the opposing offenses did not disappoint, totalling more than 900 yards on the night for both squads. The balance of the tilt came down to mistakes, and unfortunately for Springtown those numbers were large, as well.
Giving up the ball on four interceptions and two lost fumbles, Pojo dug themselves an early hole and fell too far behind, too late in the game to catch up. Springtown was eliminated from postseason play as Vernon won, 55-28.
After a promising start on its first possession netted the Porcupines 25 yards in three plays, the Lions picked up a fumble and returned the gift to the Springtown 5-yard line. Vernon took just one snap to take the early lead, with fullback Robert Thomas heading off the left guard to walk in standing up.
Thomas continued to be a catalyst for Vernon’s wing-T offense for the rest of the game, gaining 88 yards on 13 carries. But he wasn’t the only thorn for the Pojo defense.
Orlando Haymon, also running from the fullback spot, topped 170 yards as Vernon’s most prolific ball carrier, toting the pigskin 19 times and scoring three touchdowns.
On its second possession, Springtown punted after its drive stalled, a preferable outcome compared to the result of the next three. The Porcupines offense suffered three interceptions on three consecutive possessions, but were fortunate that only one of those resulted in a touchdown by the Lions.
Down 21-0 in the second quarter, Springtown finally got on the board when quarterback Colby Moore burst through the middle of the Vernon line on a fourth-and-one. Moore gained the first down, then scampered for a 23-yard scoring run.
Springtown had success moving the ball all night against the Lions defense. Senior running back Tyler Robertson gained 125 yards on 27 carries to lead the Springtown rushing effort, while Moore connected with Pojo receivers for 175 yards, completing 14 of 24 attempts. Ryan Hester was the favored receiver for Springtown, catching eight tosses (almost all over the middle) for nearly 120 yards.
The Porcupines pulled to within two touchdowns twice in the game, only to see Vernon launch another drive, sparked by long runs and the occasional pass. Though passing is not a major component in the Vernon Wing-T arsenal, on this night the aerial attack was very effective. Quarterback Brandon Urquizo completed seven of eight passes for 182 yards — and no turnovers.
The takeaways controlled the game for Vernon, as Springtown, as effective as it was on most of night, could not close the gap on Vernon.
Springtown finishes its first season back in Class 3A football with a 6-5 overall record on the season. Pojo finished second in District 6-3A, with a 4-1 mark.