SAEGERTOWN — Cambridge Springs head coach Justin Grubbs said it best after the game.
“Ugly wins are better than pretty losses.”
For Cambridge Springs, it was not the finest game. Loads of penalties and a couple turnovers kept the underdog Saegertown in the contest. Despite all that, the Blue Devils got the road win against their PENNCREST school district rival.
On Friday night, Cambridge Springs held off upset-minded Saegertown 20-6 in a Region 2 football game at Canon Memorial Field in Saegertown.
Cambridge Springs improved to 2-0 and 1-0 in region. Saegertown dropped to 0-2 and 0-1 in region play.
“It’s the best we’ve played in a long time,” said Saegertown head coach James Wolfgang. “We gave Cambridge a game I think.”
“We’ll take it on the record books,” added Grubbs.
The game began heavily in favor of Saegertown. After Cambridge’s opening drive stalled out at the Panthers’ 21, Saegertown needed just one play to excite the crowd.
Quarterback Alex Kightlinger rolled right and dumped the ball off to running back Jacob Reisinger. The tailback bobbed and weaved through the defense before finding open space. He sprinted down the sideline for the opening score. After the failed PAT it was 6-0 Panthers.
“(Reisinger) performed the way I expect him to perform. That’s his mentality. That’s who he is,” said Wolfgang.
Cambridge Springs responded well. The Blue Devils marched down the field on eight plays before facing a fourth down at the Saegertown 30. Quarterback Trent Wheeler found Landon Byrne behind the defense for a 30-yard touchdown reception. Wheeler’s kick made it 7-6 in favor of the Spa.
“Landon Byrne came up with two huge catches tonight. Somebody that you don’t always look for, but he came up with two huge catches,” said Grubbs. “That was big.”
The rest of the first half was not pretty. Neither team could get much going. For Cambridge, penalties proved costly as the Devils had 60 yards worth of yellow flags. Meanwhile, Saegertown’s offense stumbled due to a botched snap and a sack. The score remained the same at the break.
On the opening drive of the second half, Saegertown pushed the ball into the Blue Devils’ territory, but a hard run from Reisinger resulted in a fumble and a turnover.
Later in the third, a second long pass from Wheeler to Byrne set the Blue Devils up at the Saegertown 3. Jared Taylor forced his way into the end zone to extend the Spa’s advantage to 14-6.
“I was proud of our line,” Grubbs said. “They stepped up. (Saegertown) was bringing a lot of pressure and we were able to get some holes and run some clock.”
In the fourth quarter, Saegertown was hampered by another costly mistake. Another fumble bounced all the way back to the Panthers’ end zone where Cambridge Springs’ Garrett Hodak slid and fell on it. The Blue Devils got the insurance touchdown they needed to make it 20-6.
On the ensuing drive, Taylor picked off Kightlinger to put the game on ice.
For Saegertown, Reisinger led the offense with 97 rushing yards, 80 receiving yards and one touchdown catch. Kightlinger was 3-for-14 for 97 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Ethan Hayes added 62 yards on the ground.
“It’s going to happen this year. They’re fighters, they’re athletes,” said Wolfgang regarding his squad that’s looking for the program’s first win since 2015. “It’s going to happen.”
“Coach Wolfgang has done a great job doing what he’s doing with these kids,” said Grubbs. “We knew coming into tonight that it wasn’t the same Saegertown that we’ve seen.
“To come out with a win tonight I’m pretty happy and as a Saegertown alum, I’m happy for Jim to see things going in a positive direction.”
For Cambridge, Taylor led the ground attack with 93 yards and a touchdown. Wheeler was 7-for-18 with a touchdown and two interceptions. Byrne hauled in two passes for 72 yards and a touchdown.
The Blue Devils were handed 12 penalties for 105 total yards.
“We just got to work on it,” said Grubbs. “We just got to continue now to improve on different penalties that we had this week and really clean things up for the games coming up.”
Jordan Hansgen can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.