Week 3 HS Football Showcase: Springer Brings a New Element to Marshwood’s Game

For photo: http://www.seacoastonline.com/sports/20170914/week-3-hs-football-showcase-springer-brings-new-element-to-marshwoods-game

By Mike Zhe

mzhe@seacoastonline.com  Posted Sep 14, 2017  

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — There are prerequisites to be a quarterback for the Marshwood High School football team, but a strong arm isn’t one of them.

Under sixth-year coach Alex Rotsko, it’s a job that requires candidates to be athletic and smart, and be able to run the ball and take a hit. The guys who have led the Hawks to state title games — Cameron Roll, Luc Blanchette and Cole McDaniel — were all undersized running threats.

The Hawks have a little something different under center this year.

Tommy Springer, a 6-foot junior who was the backup a year ago, has brought arm strength to the position, not to mention height.

And the early returns have brought smiles — he hit on 7-of-9 passes for 81 yards and three scores in a 55-12 win at Skowhegan in Week 1, and has produced six touchdowns in his first two games, both one-sided wins.

“Tommy’s played really well so far, beyond our expectations,” said Rotsko. “We’re really pleased. Probably going in, the biggest concern was (his) poise and confidence. But so far, so good.”

Springer beat a path to the weight room as soon as last season ended. Bulked up, he beat out sophomore Connor Caverly for the starting job in training camp.

“Tommy’s worked as hard as anybody else in the weight room,” said senior Joe Taran, who starts at halfback and cornerback. “He’s got a cannon for an arm. He’s smart and knows the offense, and he’s really committed.

“We had confidence in him after last year, but him having a great offseason, that especially helped.”

With each game, Springer said he is getting more comfortable.

“Kind of stressful, being out there for the first time,” he said, after practice earlier this week. “But once I get out there and just play, it’s OK. … I got a couple snaps last year but it’s nothing like starting a game.”

This week, there’s an uptick in competition when Biddeford (2-0) comes to town Friday (6 p.m.). It’s one of two games featuring unbeatens in Class B South, with Kennebunk (2-0) squaring off against Falmouth (2-0).

“The cream is starting to rise to the top now,” said Rotsko. “The four undefeated teams are playing each other and there’s going to be two left.”

In the home opener, there’s a little extra motivation playing Biddeford, which handed the Hawks a 20-13 loss in Week 1 last year.

“Absolutely, especially at home,” said Taran. “They punched us pretty hard in the mouth last year and they’ve got some good returning players.”

While Springer has brought an air element to the Wing-T attack, the Hawks remain, first and foremost, a running team with seniors Taran and Kyle Glidden, and sophomores Justin Bryant and John Valentine.

They’re enjoying early success by avoiding the penalties and turnovers that killed too many drives last year, and because their quarterback is settling in.

“You hope he manages the team well,” said Rotsko. “He’s obviously done that, but he’s also done a lot of running and throwing, and done it well.”

“Biggest adjustment is trying to lead the team,” said Springer. “Being the quarterback everybody looks up to you. … Most of the quarterbacks I’ve seen in the past have shown a great deal of leadership. I looked up to them as role models.”

He began the offseason knowing he had a chance to become one of those leaders, and finished it as a starter.

“It started working in the offseason in the weight room, going in there every day,” he said. “I wanted to make sure going into the season I was going to do my best.”

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