Springfield vs Ben Franklin football 2021

The Springfield High football team plays against Ben Franklin High on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

Just a week after turning in possibly its best effort of the season in a loss to Pearl River, Springfield got just the opposite in a 47-6 loss to St. Martin’s on the road Friday.

Saints running back Harlem Berry scored five touchdowns in the victory.

“It’s a very disappointing result for us,” Bulldogs coach Ryan Serpas said after his team dropped to 2-4. “I thought that we were heading in the right direction, especially with the way we played the week before, and going against a school that was our size and matched us player for player, I thought we would be a whole lot more competitive this week. The did have one kid (Berry), who’s an extremely gifted athlete who we had problems containing all night long. It’s one of those things where it’s kind of a head-scratcher as far as where you look and you think things are going in the right direction and then something like this happens, and you’ve got to kind of sit back and kind of re-evaluate everything.”

The Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs at the St. Martin’s 19 after a fourth-and-1 on their first drive of the game, setting up a 75-yard touchdown run by Berry for a 7-0 lead.

Springfield got its only touchdown of the game on a 16-yard touchdown pass from Seth Grand to Britton Allen, but the two-point conversion failed, making the score 7-6.

“After that, we completely fell on our face on offense as well,” Serpas said. “We couldn’t run the ball. Throwing the ball, Britton was our highlight of the night. He caught a lot of small little hitch routes that he made plays on. Up front, we couldn’t block well enough to get (Jatorius Buggage) to do anything.”

Berry scored on a 6-yard run to put the Saints up 14-6 at the end of the first quarter, and after a Springfield punt, busted a 65-yard touchdown run to help push the lead to 21-6.

“Watching him on film, you can tell he’s got great speed, and he likes to be able to cut against the grain,” Serpas said of the freshman running back. “That’s kind of where he makes most of his plays at. As soon as he gets into the hole, he makes one cut, and he’ll cut it all the way across the field, and he just uses his speed to get the edge on you. Unfortunately for us, we talked about it all week long and knew that was his style. I thought that we had a pretty good game plan coming in and thought that if he got to that second level, we talked about how important it was to be able to have the cutback players in position to make plays, and for whatever reason, we just weren’t there. It led to a big night for him and kind of had us kind of looking silly all night long.”

Another Springfield punt led to Berry’s 18-yard TD run and a 27-6 advantage for the Saints.

“We just couldn’t stop them,” Serpas said. “Offensively, we started to struggle. Really a whole lot of breakdowns up front. It’s kind of a shocker. I really thought that we would definitely be more physical than them up front. I kind of consider that the strength of our team, and they kind of physically up front brought it to us, and we weren’t prepared for that. It’s a credit to them for being the more physical team and coming at us. They didn’t complete a pass all night long. They only attempted like four or five, but they didn’t need to pass, either. It was just one of those things where they were able to physically push us around, and that kid (Berry) was so special that he just got a little crease and as soon as he broke through, he cut it against the grain, and he was gone. It was a rough night.”

The Bulldogs recovered a fumble but threw an interception just before halftime.

Grant Gendusa’s 22-yard touchdown run capped St. Martin’s first possession of the second half, pushing the lead to 34-6.

Grand threw a pick-six on the Bulldogs’ next drive, making the score 40-6.

After another Springfield punt, Berry capped the scoring with a 59-yard run.

“We kind of abandoned the run there for a little bit, and we ended up making the change later in the game,” Serpas said. “We brought Luke Husser in to play some quarterback, and he did a pretty good job as a freshman trying to command the offense. We’re going to kind of look at things this week and see how things go into district play.”

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