If there is any inclination for Highland Springs to look past opponents, to get ready for what’s ahead of the Springers, it wasn’t evident on Friday night.
The Springers’ defense pitched a shutout against Douglas Freeman, leading to a 36-0 victory and a trip to the Region 5C final against Hermitage.
After an unsuccessful opening drive, the Mavericks were forced to punt from their 44-yard line.
The punt soared through the cold sky and took a bounce. Highland Springs defensive back and wideout Quanye Veney fielded the punt on the left hash mark, ran down the right home sideline and scored the opening touchdown.
Highland Springs never looked back.
The story of the night for the Springers was the play of the defense. Coach Loren Johnson gave credit to assistant Devon Simmons and the defensive staff.
“Our defense is what Highland Springs is known for,” said Johnson. “The kids have bought into him [Simmons]. They love him and they play hard for him.”
Highland Springs’ defense got off to a hot start in the first half, forcing three straight three-and-outs and allowing under 90 yards of total offense in the half. They finished with four fourth-down stops and an interception by Veney in a dominant defensive performance. The Springers have allowed only one touchdown in the past three weeks.
Offensively, the Springers leaned on the run. They finished with 239 rushing yards on the night, powered by Aziz Foster-Powell. Foster-Powell had 92 yards rushing, adding a rushing and receiving touchdown in the first half. Foster-Powell gave all the credit to his teammates.
“It feels like we’re playing like a family,” Foster-Powell said.
Highland Springs moves on to the region final. Johnson emphasized the importance of “good weeks of practice” and preparation moving forward.
“We just have to take care of us, and if we take care of us I think the rest will take care of itself,” Johnson said.