Springfield vs St. Thomas Aquinas football

The Springfield High football team takes on St. Thomas Aquinas in a clash of District 10-2A teams on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021.

Heading into the final week of the regular season, it’s all about positioning for the playoffs for the Springfield football team.

The Bulldogs (3-5, 1-1) come into Friday’s 7 p.m. game at Northlake Christian at No. 29 in the unofficial Class 2A power ratings by Geauxpreps.com. The top 32 teams make the postseason field.

“Looking at some things, it looks like we’re most likely going to be in a playoff position, but we have a chance to try to set ourselves up to be in a little better position where we can try to be in a competitive game and try to stay away from the top guys in 2A,” Serpas said. “Who knows? Just getting there would be a great thing for our program and the experience these guys get. I think that we have the guys that can compete with some of those guys at the top if we put everything together. We’re going to do our best to come out on a high note …”

The Bulldogs are coming off a loss to St. Thomas Aquinas and Serpas said the key for the team right now is maintaining a positive outlook.

“We’re at the tail end of the season here, and every play could be our last opportunity to prove everything that we’ve done to get to this point,” Serpas said. “I really like our kids. The effort we’ve gotten has been hit and miss at times, but I like the direction our program is going. We just want to carry some positive momentum going off into this next stage right here. I think with a win this week, that would put us in sole possession of second place in district. That’s something to be positive about, something we can look back at and say that we accomplished and try to build on that for next year.”

On the field, Serpas said the Bulldogs still have some things to clean up.

“We’re still making some mistakes, like in our secondary,” Serpas said. “That’s a communication thing. That’s something we’ve got to work on, making sure our guys understand what we’re doing every single play, not just assuming everybody’s on the same page (but) knowing that they’re on the same page, especially defensively. That’s been some of our biggest downfalls have been because one person is doing something, and the other person is doing the exact opposite. We’ve just got to make sure that they know what we’re doing within the framework of what we’re trying to accomplish.”

Serpas said the team has some things to build on coming out of last week’s game.

“Offensively, I thought we actually did a pretty decent job,” Serpas said. “We ran the ball pretty well, especially in the first half. Not as much in the second half just because the situations that dictated that we needed to do, but I think that we have progressively gotten a little better offensively, just defensively I think we kind of slipped back here, and we’ve got to re-evaluate and try to focus in on some of our issues and fix them going forward.”

Northlake (1-7, 0-2) is coming off a 25-3 loss to Pope John Paul II.

“We can’t take them lightly, even though they’re schedule isn’t what it’s been in years past,” Serpas said. “They’re still dangerous and capable of beating us.”

Serpas said Northlake is similar to Pope John Paul II in terms of scheme.

“They get in very similar formations, and they like to run the ball, but the one thing that they do have is their quarterback (Gabe Smith) seems to be a little more athletic and has a lot stronger arm than what the kid from Pope had. He’s definitely going to be a kid that we’re going to have to try to key on. They don’t have the stable of running backs that they’ve had in the past, so it’s going to be more of a grind it out at the line kind of deal for us.”

“Defensively, they’re always a very gritty, hard-nosed team, but I do think that if we carry over the momentum we’ve had rushing the ball the last couple of weeks, we should be in a good situation,” Serpas said. “And then the growth of (Springfield quarterback) Luke (Husser) the last couple weeks as well. Whenever we made the move (to change quarterbacks), people kind of questioned was that the right thing to do? Even us as coaches (were wondering) ‘how are the kids going to respond to this?’ The way that Luke has played has stopped any questions from being asked as far as that aspect is concerned. He’s done a great job. He’s doing a great job of commanding the offense and making sure we’re making the right reads and doing things probably a little better than what you would expect a freshman kid who’s only got two starts under his belt to be doing. I think he has a bright future, especially if he keeps on this upward trajectory of growth.”

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