AMITE – Springfield knew it had an uphill climb in its game against No. 2 Amite to open the Class 2A playoffs.
That climb got steeper before the game started and progressively got worse.
Amite rode a 37-point first half to a 51-0 win over the No. 31-seeded Bulldogs on Thursday.
“We’re not in a position program-wise to be able to compete with the Amite’s of the world right now,” Springfield coach Ryan Serpas said after the Bulldogs played without quarterback Zac Wild, who missed the game with a concussion. “My goal is to hopefully one day be there, but we just don’t have the talent level and the size kids that they have to be able to be competitive.”
The Warriors (10-1), who defeated the Bulldogs 40-0 two weeks ago thanks to a 28-point first quarter, followed a similar formula.
They took over at the Bulldogs' 40 after a punt following Springfield’s first drive of the game, setting up a 26-yard touchdown pass from Amani Gilmore to Cameron Henderson for a 7-0 lead three plays later.
A punt snap went out of the end zone on the Bulldogs’ next drive for a safety to give Amite a 9-0 edge.
Amite took over at its own 46 after the safety and found the end zone again three plays later. Gilmore's 16-yard pass to Devonta Lee made it 16-0 with 4:18 to play in the first quarter.
The Warriors got a 39-yard return to the Springfield 35 after another punt, setting up Corey McKnight’s 15-yard TD run two plays later for a 23-0 lead with six seconds to go in the first quarter.
On the first play of its next drive, Springfield (3-8) tried a toss pass, but Colten Davis was intercepted by Kyle Maxwell, who returned the ball to the Bulldogs' 22, setting up a touchdown pass from Gilmore to Henderson on the next play for a 30-0 lead.
After another Springfield punt, Amite capped a five-play, 57-yard drive with a 7-yard TD run by Zhamere Ard for a 37-0 lead.
Amite, which finished with 243 yards of total offense, didn’t let up after halftime.
Dorian Batiste returned a short kickoff to open the second half to the Bulldogs' 39, where Korrill Mearridy rattled off a 24-yard run, setting up a 15-yard pass from Gilmore to Maxwell on the next play for a 44-0 lead.
On the ensuing kickoff, things got worse for Springfield, who dressed out 24 players against Amite after opening the season with a 45-player roster, as Davis and Waylon Mabry left the game with injuries, forcing Nick Macaluso to handle punting duties the rest of the game.
“Either these kids have to really get serious about the weight room and start doing their part, taking care of their bodies in the offseason and train them to where we’re not getting these types of injuries," Serpas said, "or we need to figure out some other things to do, because that’s definitely been our biggest Achilles heel the last probably two or three years."
The teams exchanged punts from there, and Amite scored the game’s final touchdown when McKnight returned a Babb interception 30 yards for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs gained their only two first downs of the game on their next drive as Kendall Stanga carried seven straight times for 14 yards before Springfield punted.
“He just the last couple of weeks has shown a couple of things and has been earning more playing time,” Serpas said of Stanga, who had a groin injury that sidelined him until the sixth week of the season. “He’s a senior kid who I wished would have come out before this year, because I think he could have been a much better football player had he played for a year or two. I am glad that this is a memory he’s going to be able to take with him into the future and be able to say, ‘hey, you know what? I gained a couple first downs against Amite my senior year.’”
It was Springfield’s best drive of the night, and the Bulldogs finished with (minus-22) yards of total offense, including the yardage lost on the bad punt snap.
Babb went 1-for-6 for (minus-2) yards passing with an interception.
“It’s a good learning experience for a young kid like that,” Serpas said of Babb’s outing. “Hopefully we can get kids like him that are going to show a higher level of commitment and we can build around kids like him and Arshun Andrews going forward.”
Andrews finished with 15 carries for nine yards.
“You just hope that the kids go out there and can take a positive experience and learn and see what they’re lacking in and can go into this offseason and try to build on that to try to make themselves better for next year,” Serpas said.
Amite 51, Springfield 0
Springfield 0 0 0 0 -- 0
Amite 23 14 14 0 -- 51
AHS – Cameron Henderson 26 pass from Amani Gilmore (Liam Adamson kick)
AHS -- Safety, punt snap out of end zone
AHS – Devonta Lee 16 pass from Gilmore (Adamson kick)
AHS – Corey McKnight 15 run (Adamson kick)
AHS – Henderson 22 pass from Gilmore (Adamson kick)
AHS – Zhamere Ard 7 run (Tyler Slade kick)
AHS – Kyle Maxwell 15 pass from Gilmore (Slade kick)
AHS – McKnight 30 interception return (Slade kick)
2 First downs 12
27-(-20) Rushes-yards 18-167
(-2) Passing yards 76
1-7-2 Passing (C-A-I) 5-6-0
3-1 Fumbles-Lost 0-0
4-25.25 Punts-Avg. 2-29
3-15 Penalties-Yards 5-35