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High school football: Springville hopes to apply hard lessons learned last season against East

SPRINGVILLE — Springville learned a hard lesson going up against East last year in the 4A state semifinal round and will have a chance to apply those lessons learned this Friday. The Red Devils earned a rematch with the Leopards, this time in the state championship game, and now seek to turn the tables on last year's outcome.

What happened last year was East trouncing Springville 42-14 en route to winning the 4A state championship. It was an experience Red Devil coaches and players are drawing upon this week, intent on a much better showing this time around.

"Last year was a tough end to our season, no question, but I think it was a good experience having been able to go and compete against a really good East team," said Springville coach Wily Child. "I think we were able to compete well, for a while, but then things just sort of got out of hand and we lost by a good amount."

Not allowing things to get out of hand when facing East was a difficult task last season and should prove at least as tough this time around.

The Leopards enter Friday's game not having allowed any local program to come within 13 points of beating them. They're fronted by a dominant offensive line which has produced video-game-type numbers for total offense during most games.

But despite all that, the Red Devils are drawing upon the positives gained through last year's experience, which includes proving competitive during the first half of play.

"We were right there, but had a couple of red-zone opportunities fall short which really hurt us," Child said of last year's game, which saw East lead just 14-0 at the half, "So we learned, the hard way, that you can't miss any opportunities against a team as good as that. They'll make you pay and they definitely made us pay last year."

Most of East's punishing play dealt out to opponents comes by virtue of a running attack that is fronted by five offensive linemen who have FBS college scholarship offers. Helping out tremendously is running back Jaylen Warren, who has rushed for 2,893 yards and 35 touchdowns on the year.

But Springville won't be going in punchless. Quite the contrary.

The Red Devils feature a workman-like team that relies on solid and precise execution made by players who have largely escaped the radar of collegiate recruiters. It's a team not familiar with beating itself on most every occasion and will likely not do as much come Friday.

"We have a lot of hard-working kids who have really dedicated themselves to what we do," Child said. "We have a lot of good leaders who we'll count on to not make the mistakes we did last year because you just can't do that against East."

Among those leaders: senior quarterback Jantsen Thorpe, senior receiver Brennen Rymer, senior lineman Andrew Slack and senior running back Payton Kelepolo. As for Kelepolo, he's coming off a 242-yard performance in the semifinal win over Alta and has done his best running in the postseason.

As for those set to go against East's lauded offensive front, they feel up to the challenge.

"East is really good, but we're going to give it our all," said Springville senior lineman Junior Mulipola. "We learned last year that you can't ever give up, so we just need to come in prepared and we're excited for the challenge."


Twitter: @BrandonCGurney