springfield coach tom kline and players High School Football Top 10: Week Of Oct. 17

Springfield coach Tom Kline and players (credit: Joe Santoliquito)

Top 10 – Week of Oct. 17, 2011

1. Archbishop Wood (Record: 6-1. Prev. Week: 1. Weeks Rated: 8.)

2. La Salle (Record: 6-1. Prev. Week: 2. Weeks Rated: 8.)

3. Abington (Record: 7-0. Prev. Week: 3. Weeks Rated: 5.)

4. Council Rock South (Record: 6-1. Prev. Week: 5. Weeks Rated: 8.)

5. Malvern Prep (Record: 5-1. Prev. Week: 6. Weeks Rated: 7.)

6. Plymouth Whitemarsh (Record: 6-1. Prev. Week: 8. Weeks Rated. 2.)

7. Unionville (Record: 6-1. Prev. Week: 7. Weeks Rated. 2.)

8. Coatesville (Record: 6-1. Prev. Week: 9. Weeks Rated: 6.)

9. Springfield (Delco) (Record: 7-0. Prev. Week: 10. Weeks Rated: 2.)

10. Bayard Rustin (Record: 6-1. Prev. Week: NR. Weeks Rated: 1.)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Many of the players on Springfield (Delaware County) were not even born the last time the Cougars experienced the kind of season they are currently enjoying. You would have to go way back to 1994 to find the last time Springfield went this deep into a season and was still undefeated—and back to 1988 before that. It’s been twice in the last 25 years Springfield won a Central League title.

But that’s exactly where the Cougars sit, at 7-0 overall and on the brink of a league crown, at 6-0 in the Central League. This Friday at 7 p.m. Springfield will surely be tested as to just how good the Cougars are. Springfield will be hosting 6-1 Garnet Valley, a top-level program under coach Mike Ricci, in a game that promises to be one of the best in Southeastern Pennsylvania this weekend.

What makes this season even more unique for Springfield is the Cougars have a new coach, Tom Kline. Kline was part of the Dan Ellis’s staff, which began overhauling the Springfield program in 2008 and Kline has carried it further this season.
Kline had an underlying feeling that this stage of success was possible.

“I don’t want to sound arrogant about it, but I just knew, looking around at what we had coming back, with all of the kids on defense with experience, and what we had on offense, I totally believed we would be in a situation like this, in a game like this,” Kline said. “I look across matchup-for-matchup and we have confidence in what we do and who we are as a coaching staff and as a team. Our kids don’t get afraid of anything. They’re excited about this game.

“We have a lot of respect for Garnet Valley and Coach Ricci, who is right up there with the best coaches in this area. We followed what Mike has done, and talk about modeling your program after someone, you model from what Mike has built there. We’re trying to do the same things here.”

Springfield is a team powered defensively by linebackers Tyler Morrissey, a senior who is a Division I prospect, and junior Mike Dougherty. The defensive line, buoyed by Joe Lockley and Mike McGarvey, has put pressure on opponents all season, and the secondary, led by John Wise and Dan Smyth, has been aggressive in creating turnovers.

Offensively, the Cougars have been led by quarterback Ryan Strain and junior tailback Rob Murphy. What’s further filling the Springfield fuel court is a collective chip on its shoulder that its 7-0 start is an aberration, since the Cougars have not played traditional powerhouse Ridley this season and the Central League is supposed to be down.

“I would totally agree with that, these kids do have a chip on their shoulders and with social media today, they do hear things like the league is down, they hear we don’t play Ridley this year, those comments do get back to them,” Kline said. “Our kids work extremely hard, they have done this and they’re very proud of it. We’ll keep carrying that chip, because we still feel we have a lot to prove.”

Game Of The Week

Garnet Valley (6-1) at Springfield (7-0), Friday 7 p.m.
Garnet Valley is a fast team that’s well coached and athletic. Springfield is a fast team, predicated on defense, is well coached and athletic. Something will have to give in this Delaware County showdown that should be the most attended game at Springfield in close to 20 years.

Garnet Valley plays a two-platoon system and its no-huddle offense has worn teams down. Springfield will try and counter that with an attacking defense led by linebacker Tyler Morrissey.

“Look at both of our teams,” Springfield coach Tom Kline said. “We played games in which we both made mistakes and were still able to win. Both teams have had penalty issues and were still able to win, and both teams think they can’t turn the ball over, and both teams can score off turnovers. We need to play our game, and minimize our mistakes. That will be the key.”

Reported by Joseph Santoliquito

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