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Springville-GI JV football drops season finale

SPRINGVILLE — On Thursday, Oct. 25 the Springville-Griffith Institute junior varsity football team lost its final game of the season to Williamsville South 40 – 30.

Williamsville South’s varsity team played at Ralph Wilson Stadium in both 2010 and 2011.

“We had the lead the whole game and our team fell apart at the end,” said Coach Greg Hodges. “Will-South connected with a few good passes.”

Leading the offense was Tommy Schweickert, who had 317 yards rushing, helping him finish with 1,604 yards, for the year. The Springville sophomore had touchdown runs of 84 and 79 yards. He also got involved in the passing game, with a 77-yard touchdown reception from Devin “DWK” White-Kearns.

Backing up his “dual threat” team label, White-Kearns ran for a 28-yard touchdown, as well. Finishing up the scoring was Devin Pazzuti who, for the second week in a row, took reverse, for a long touchdown.

Pazzuti paced the defense with 15 tackles. Mason Merlau finished with eight and Captain Jake Smith had seven tackles and an interception, late in the fourth quarter.

“Jake is a great kid,” Hodges said. “Really a high character kid. Not many freshman become a team captain, but I felt, with Jake, he has all the leadership skills. He leads by example and really works his tail off.”

Approximately 75 percent of this year’s team was made up of freshmen. Players like Smith will be returning, next year.

“Three-quarters of my team this year will be returning, next year,” Hodges said. “I’m very excited for next year. I had an all-freshman line after center Bryce Stedman got called up to varsity and I’m going to look for them to work out and get bigger and stronger and battle for starting spots again next year. Hopefully, we can hitch the wagons to them.”

This year was Hodges’ first year at the helm of the JV team. Last year, he worked with the varsity team, during games. Hodges worked on scouting, statistics and charting other team’s tendencies. “You obviously want to win every game, but my goal, this year, was to teach the kids how to run the option and work on every little thing, and we accomplished that,” the coach said.

“I had a great assistant coach this year in Bill Dickinson and I look forward to working with him, in the future. I had great support from my varsity coaches [John] Sopko and [Rob] Valenti and the community was great. For them to start backing this program is great.

“We have a great community and fantastic fans. There was not one game this year, home or away, where we didn’t have double or triple the amount of fans as the other team had,” Hodges added. “So I want to thank them all for making my first year such a memorable one.”

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