By: Dorothy Ingebrigtsen
Although Springfield High School was not directly involved, the football games between Sacred-Heart Griffin and Rochester (aka the Leonard Bowl) will always the most relevant games in the city, and even the state.
Ken Leonard, the SHG coach who has led the team to five state titles in the past 10 years, is father to Rochester coach Derek Leonard who has also led his team to five straight state titles.
Both extraordinary coaches have faced off for seven years as the top two teams in the Central State Eight to see who will take the CS8 title as well as bragging rights.
This year, both SHG and Rochester headed into the game with a record of 6-0.
As a spectator of the game, the tension and hype was evident even before kickoff. The bleachers, sidewalks and hills were filled of anxious Rochester and SHG parents and fans.
Once Rochester finally kicked off, the game was on. It was clear from seeing the start of SHG’s offense that they would be using running back Tremayne Lee to his full potential, which led him to score three touchdowns on the night, including a 91 yard score.
Tristan Blair also got a touchdown while the kicker Colin Boyd added two field goals.
But, SHGs impressive offense was matched by a determined Rochester offense.
Collin Stallworth and Avante Cox each had two touchdowns to keep the fans on their feet.
While most of the game was interesting enough, the last few minutes of the fourth quarter is what made this game so great.
With SHG leading 33-28, Rochester unexpectedly recovered their own kick, giving them possession of the ball and a chance to score which would win them the game. 3.2 seconds left in the game; nobody in the stadium knew what was going to happen next. Quarterback Nic Baker desperately threw a pass aimed for Collin Stallworth waiting in the end zone, but unfortunately was knocked down by an SHG defender which would end the game.
So, SHG won the 33-28 game to remain undefeated in the CS8, giving them the conference title. As for the thousands of fans in the stadium, at home watching on TV, and listening on the radio, we got the exact exhilarating game that was the Leonard Bowl VII was expected to be. Now, our own SHS football team will have to face these two Leonard coaches and their teams in an attempt to make it to the playoffs in weeks 8 and 9 of the football season.
photo credit to channel 1450.com