SPRINGFIELD, Minn. (KEYC) — The Springfield football team is returning to the state tournament for the second consecutive year.
After finishing last season at U.S. Bank Stadium in the semi-finals the Tigers hope to take it one step further.
“I’m very excited, I’m sure I could speak for all of us in that we really wanted to get back here, I mean it’s been our goal all season,” Nolan Hovland, Springfield senior, said.
“It’s pretty cool actually, it’s good knowing that you’ve already been there and you know how it’s like so we feel comfortable but it’s also fun knowing that we’re going back again,” Mason Rummel, Springfield senior, said.
“I did expect this to happen just because of the type of players we have, when you have talent and you combine that with work ethic, good things are going to happen and good things happen to good people and we have some real good kids on this squad,” Bob Fink, Springfield head coach, said.
The Tigers were able to punch their ticket to the state tournament with a thrilling win over Martin County West in the section championship where the team managed to make the big plays when they mattered most, scoring in the final minute to go ahead.
“It’s very exciting, it was finally good to have a close game in the section championship that will prepare us well for state,” Decker Scheffler, Springfield senior, said.
“It put us in a spot where we weren’t beating a team by a whole bunch and we have to learn to compete and keep fighting even though we may not be winning by a whole lot so it gave us that opportunity to prepare for the state tournament knowing that we’re not going to blow all the teams out,” Rummel said.
“We played a very good team and at the same time we were not at our very best and I see an attitude this week in practice, it’s not going to happen again, we’re going to come to play, we’re going to come ready, we’re going to play physical Tiger football and I think you’re going to see a lot better performance on the field, and not that we played poorly at all, we came through adversity, driving the ball 80 yards down the field in the final minute and a half which is great but we are going to be ready for this upcoming game and we have to be,” Fink said.
And the team has an idea of what it will take to be prepared.
“To work on being a team and work together and communicate,” Tyler Michel, Springfield senior, said.
“I think if we play how we know we can I think we can win it, our chemistry is a lot better, we all click when we come to practice we’re ready to go and we know we need to work hard and get to where we need to be,” Owen Bertram, Springfield senior, said.
Right there with the team through every step of the season win or lose, is the Springfield faithful.
“It’s awesome seeing the community there supporting us the whole way and them all getting excited at every game, seeing them around town, saying hi, good game, all those little things,” Ivan Hovland, Springfield senior, said.
“It’s really important, we feed off of their energy so hopefully they can all come out to Janesville and start a riot up there,” Nolan Hovland, said.
The Tigers will take on Blooming Prairie High School in the quarterfinals on Saturday at JWP High School. Kick-off it set for noon.