Page at Spring Hill: Thursday Night ‘Battle’

Photo by Brad Pope

school-headerSpring Hill hosts Page Thursday night (Sept 3) in the first district (Class 4A Region 4) game of the year for both teams.

“It will be a battle,” Spring Hill Coach Tom Turchetta said. “This is a huge game for both teams.”

The Patriots (1-1) and Red Raiders (1-1) both lost last week. But both coaches sound confident their team can win.

(In our other game of the week, Independence hosts Lincoln County.)

Dynamic Duo

Page coach Charles Rathbone has what he calls the Michael Duo adding shine and shimmer to its offense.

That would be quarterback Michael Magochy and running back Michael Roberts, both of whom are having great starts this year.

In two games, Magochy is 22 of 36 for 339 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions passing this year, and he ran another in himself; and Roberts has 74 rushing yards on 14 carries and 87 receiving yards on 5 catches and a touchdown.

But of concern this week to coach Rathbone are injuries.

“We are a little banged up,” he said.

The lone senior starter on the offensive line likely won’t play Thursday. That means all five Page offensive linemen will be very green, two sophomores and three juniors, with less than 12 starts between them.

But Rathbone does not believe it will be a huge problem against Page, and in fact said he is very pleased with the job his offensive line has done.

What gave his team trouble against Lipscomb last week, he said, was the sheer size of its defensive line.

“We will be better up front [against Spring Hill] than against Lipscomb,” he said. “They had huge guys on their defensive line, but Spring Hill is smaller with much, much better athletes. Hopefully we win.”

“Comparing Spring Hill to Lipscomb is like apples to oranges.”

Spring Hill Looks to Bounce Back

The Red Raiders lost by a lot last week, 42-7 to McGavock, but it was a very atypical blowout.

After almost three quarters Spring Hill trailed by just seven, 14-7. Then, between the last few minutes of the third and the end of the game, gave up four touchdown. So while the final score looks like a blowout, Spring Hill had a very bad quarter more than a very bad game.

In the course of a season, one bad quarter could be an anomaly or a microcosm.

To be sure, in week one against Summit, Spring Hill looked in sync, as quarterback Tylin Oden led his team to a 27-15 win. But Oden had three interceptions against McGavock, struggling to 7 of 17 for 53 yards passing on the night.

While Spring Hill struggled with turnovers, it seemed simply unable to stop the run.

The Raiders allowed 408 yards rushing. And unlike turnovers, which make marvelous highlights but turn often on luck, run defense is pretty predictive.

Then again, Spring Hill surrendered a significant chunk of those yards in that wacky fourth quarter.

What that quarter means might come into focus a bit more on Thursday night, when Page will surely send Roberts to test McGavock’s hypothesis.

As for Turchetta, he feels his Raiders match up well with Page, and vice versa.

“We have to start playing with passion, effort and sustain that for all four quarter,” said Turchetta. “If we can do this, we will have a chance to win the game – but Page is very good and I have a great deal of respect for Coach Rathbone and his staff.”
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