West Springfield might be 3-0 for the first time in more than a decade, after a 33-14 home win over Lee on Friday, but don’t look for the Spartans to make a huge deal out of their best start in recent history.
“It means that we’re definitely on the right road,” said West Springfield Coach J.T. Biddison, whose team intercepted four Lee passes and returned one for a touchdown. “But it also means we’ve won three games. Three games is three games.”
That third game, the Virginia AAA Patriot District opener for both teams, was scoreless until the second quarter, when the Spartans rattled off 19 unanswered points. First, they swarmed Lee junior running back Michael Jolly, the Washington area’s second-leading rusher, in the end zone for a seven-yard loss and a 2-0 lead.
After the free kick, senior Jonathan Dunn reeled off a 31-yard touchdown run. West Springfield started its next possession at the Lee 48 and, thanks in part to a defensive pass interference penalty, the Spartans soon scored on a 27-yard pass from senior Tyler Sutter to senior Nathan Conquest.
West Springfield senior Tyler Czajkowski tacked on a 25-yard field goal in the final minute of the first half for a 19-0 lead, and the Spartans went up 26-0 in the third quarter on a five-yard interception return by senior Matthew Ahola, who snuffed out a screen pass.
Lee made it 26-14 on two touchdown passes by senior John Rodgers before Dunn (29 carries, 99 yards) capped the scoring with a 46-yard touchdown run in the final minutes.
After a 39-carry game last week, Jolly had a modest 15 totes for 79 yards.
“After you lead [the Northern Region] in rushing the first two weeks, teams are going to start scheming you up,” Lee Coach Clarence Martin said. “They did a great job defensively on him tonight. We tried a lot of different things. . . . They were on top of it.”
(Just a thought, but with a Jolly-Rodgers backfield, the Lee offense might want to give itself a pirate-themed nickname this season).
West Springfield seniors Nathan Pham and Frank Sturek each intercepted passes in the first half, as did Ahola and junior Benjamin Armstrong in the second. That and the job on Jolly made it a satisfying night for the Spartans’ defense.
“It’s just everybody doing their assignment, really,” said Biddison, whose team plays a nondistrict game at Chantilly next week. “Real simple and boring. Just everybody getting contain, filling the gaps, making tackles.”
Nearby rivals Lee (2-1) and West Springfield have alternated wins the past five games in the series.
“We’re definitely working as a team,” said Dunn, who has a scholarship offer from Wake Forest. “It’s definitely not a one-trick pony offense any more. Everybody’s getting involved, and everybody’s doing their job.”