Football Spartans Cannot Escape the Woods

Posted on: October 15, 2021

Archrivalries in sports seldom require explanation, and the pregame hype and chatter anticipating Friday night’s arrival of Winton Woods left no doubt. Perfect weather, the full (and incredible!) FHSD band, and a solid Turpin 1st half set the stage for a triumphant highlight reel for all to see on Fox19’s Final Quarter. However, the buzzkill of too many self-destructing Spartan miscues fueled a 2nd half, 34-6 Warrior stampede and 41-19 Winton Woods conquest of your Turpin Spartans.

Turpin’s Friday night opening drive served as a coaching clinic for how to best open a championship level football game. The Spartans fired all available offensive weaponry, mixing in a healthy dose of air and ground travel during an impressive 4-minute opening drive. Coach McCullough even rolled the dice early on 4th and 2 from the Winton Woods 38, and Keenan Alcalde scampered around the edge all the way down to the half yard line. A quick, subsequent QB1 sneak by Will Schulok electrified the Spartan Stadium home crowd as Turpin claimed the early 7-0 lead. Unbelievably though, Winton Woods then scored in just under 8 seconds to even the score at 7. Many jabs, flesh wounds, and punts littered the rest of the 1st half until Turpin rapidly marched downfield with an 80-yard, 48-second scoring drive capped by a Ryan McDole touchdown grab. With just a few seconds left in the 2nd quarter, Ben Cushman wrestled down the Warrior quarterback to extinguish the clock and send both teams off to enjoy their halftime orange slices. 

After an action-packed intermission, the 2nd half then implausibly happened. Part-time web reporters with a government day job prefer composing articles with positive spins, so here is the good: Drew Covington picked off yet another pass and remained perched atop the ECC interception leaderboard. Reed Rosenbraugh, Charlie Feltman and Cody Hurst each recovered separate Warrior fumbles. Clark Helgason and Ryan Mcdole grabbed 10 and 8 catches, respectively, and combined for 156 total receiving yards. Alcalde followed behind, through and around his Obeastie Boyz for 163 more rushing yards. Trey Carpenter (8), Reed Rosenbraugh (6), and Gaby Asbury (5) led the Spartan defense in tackles. Unfortunately, too many 2nd half stumbles haunted all that good, and Spartan Stadium witnessed an inclusive and wide-ranging collection of self-induced, gridiron missteps. 


McCullough’s 2 Minute Drill:

What were your positive takeaways this week?

Coach McCullough: Not many.  The boys played hard but we made too many mistakes at pivotal moments in a championship game.  A game is decided by 5-6 plays and they made them.


Turnovers and miscues stung both teams last night. How do you and your staff do such a good job keeping all those young men focused when momentum shifts so quickly?

Coach McCullough: "You are only as good as your next play."  This is a saying that I preach to the team.  If you make a great play or a mistake, how you handle your success or how quickly you bounce back is going to determine what kind of player you are.  The point is to grow and develop the maturity of young players and keep the veteran players focused.  Playing consistent football is what we need every play, every game especially this time of year.  


What are the most important ways the Spartans need to get better for attacking Kings next week? 

Coach McCullough: We need to have a great week of preparation.  There needs to be a sense of urgency in the way we practice.  For us to play well this Friday, we will need to eliminate the mistakes that we made last week, get back to the fundamentals of football, and get ready for another big game.  


The good news moving forward is all the pressure and built-up expectations now rest squarely on the shoulders of future Spartan opponents. Playing defiantly loose with nothing to lose during football money time is always fun, and a confident Spartan swagger will dangerously start festering in the heads of the other sidelines. Up next for Sparta is a roadie showdown across the east-side kingdom with the Knights of Kings High School. Obviously, Kings’ season record shines a bold, right-handed zero, so what a perfect opportunity for your Turpin Spartans to battle cry and obliterate the ECC leaderboard.


Duloc hospitality never describes the Kings Mills home army, so light your torches, sharpen your pitch forks, and bring along any ogres on your speed dial. Horses and lances are optional for Friday night’s planned jousting, but all hands-on-deck are required for sure this week. October ECC football at its finest! The Castle shall fill fast for Friday’s normal 7pm kickoff, so break down and clean up your pregame tailgate early. 


Nothing works unless the linemen do and Go Spartans!