By Andy Warrener
The Laker/Lutz News Correspondent
The Sunlake football team was unable to slow down the run game of a smash-mouth Springstead squad Sept. 21, dropping its Class 6A-District 6 opener 13-7.
The Eagles (4-0, 1-0) ran over the Seahawks (2-1, 0-1) in the first half, which ate up the clock and allowed each squad only three possessions apiece in the opening 24 minutes.
But the host Springstead had the advantage in starting field position, beginning drives at its own 40-yard line and the Sunlake 40 and 37. The Eagles scored all 13 points in the opening half to enter the locker room leading 13-0.
“I told the guys, field position was going to be critical in this game,” said Sunlake coach Bill Browning.
The Seahawks gained just 29 yards in the first half and dodged two bullets when long snaps went past punter Connor Gilboy, but the senior had the presence of mind to scoop each up, run around to find room and boot both downfield.
Everything changed for Sunlake in the second half.
The Seahawks defense slammed the door on Springstead’s run game, allowing zero net yards on its first two drives.
Meanwhile, the Sunlake offense began to show signs of life by sticking with running senior quarterback Josh Zifer up the middle and getting Eddie Burgos the ball more.
After their first drive fizzled, the Seahawks netted 87 yards on their second and third drives and put their first points on the board with a nine-yard touchdown catch by Burgos.
Field position also swung in Sunlake’s favor, starting its second half drives at its own 48, 48 and 45.
The shorter fields helped put the Seahawks in position to tie the game with six minutes left.
Sunlake converted one fourth down on the drive, but couldn’t make it two with about three minutes remaining.
The Seahawks still had time on the clock and a full set of timeouts, but Springstead gained its only first down of the second half and ran out the clock.
Sunlake linebackers Ben Wood (eight solo tackles) and Ray Busbee (six solo tackles) led the defensive effort.
The Seahawks host district rival Mitchell Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m.
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