Northgate wins, ends Springdale's 11-year playoff run
Even as its season turned sour, Springdale stuck to the gritty, defense-oriented, run-often style that corresponded with the program's emergence as a Class A power during the past decade.
That approach failed to save Springdale from falling out of playoff contention for the first time since 2001 as the Dynamos (2-6, 2-5) lost to host Northgate, 28-14, on Friday night.
The Flames (2-6, 2-5), already out of the postseason picture, took the lead just two minutes into the Eastern Conference game and maintained it the rest of the way to end Springdale's Alle-Kiski Valley-best 11-season playoff-qualifying streak.
“The streak is great, but it's more about tradition and playing the game a certain way,” Springdale coach Dave Leasure said.
“We're still doing that to a point, but we're not where we used to be. Someone has to be accountable for that, and it's usually the guy in charge, me.”
Northgate, which had lost six games in a row, unveiled a play it had saved all fall during its first possession.
On first-and-10 at Springdale's 48, quarterback Johnny Camello tossed a lateral to receiver Rodney Burrows, who turned and threw downfield to Darion Trimmer for a touchdown.
“It was getting to that point in the season where we had to put some things in to give ourselves a chance,” Northgate coach Brandon LeDonne said.
Camello made the offense go for most of the evening, completing 10 of 12 passes for 132 yards.
He threw a 26-yard touchdown on fourth-and-15 with 3:29 left to seal the win, and he also ran for a 22-yard score with 1:23 left in the first half.
“Camello has played well for us the last three weeks ... but it's really been a team effort and guys just grinding it out,” LeDonne said.
Springdale put together several long drives with its ground game.
The Dynamos ran 12 plays on their first possession and held the ball for more than six minutes but came away with no points.
Springdale also had the ball for almost nine minutes in the third quarter, but again, they failed to score.
“We had an advantage up front, and we took advantage of that, to a point,” Leasure said. “They certainly had an advantage at the skill kids, and that was the difference-maker.”
Northgate turnovers set up both of Springdale's touchdowns. Austin Kline's fumble recovery at the Flames' 22 late in the first quarter preceded John Nicholson's 10-yard touchdown run.
Then, late in the third quarter, Joel Wunnenberg returned an interception to Northgate's 45, and 13 plays later, Matt Mikus scored from 4 yards out to cut Springdale's deficit to 22-14.
Springdale freshman quarterback Sam Carey played in place of junior Daniel Franskousky, who was out with concussion symptoms.