By Kiley Diesner, reporting intern
Spanish Springs hosted Hug on Friday needing a win to clinch a playoff berth. Done.
The Cougars (3-5, 2-2) shut out the Hawks (1-7, 0-4), 34-0, and earned a spot in the postseason after missing out a season ago.
“It’s a good feeling for us to be in the playoffs,” Spanish Springs coach Eric Borja said. “It was a goal we set at the beginning of the year. We’re proud of our kids for getting goal No. 1 in the books.”
Early in the first quarter, the Cougs started rolling with a catch from Cody Shaefer that led to a touchdown by Travis Vargas. The team kicked a field goal in the second quarter followed by a 63-yard touchdown pass from Korbin Marcum to TJ Fiorelli.
To start the third quarter, Gray Paholke kicked another field goal and then Vargas returned a punt for another touchdown. Vargas scored the final touchdown in the fourth quarter as well—his third of the night.
“Travis is a great football player and a great kid,” Borja said. “He works his tail off for us and just does an outstanding job. He works hard and deserves everything he gets.”
Marcum was 11-of-21 passing for 105 yards and a touchdown. Fiorelli had eight carries for 117 yards and a touchdown. Vargas was all over the state sheet, carrying the ball 16 times 63 yards and two touchdowns to go along with an interception and a punt return for a touchdown.
“A great team effort,” Spanish Springs coach Eric Borja said. “Our defense stepped up tonight and created a lot of turnovers. They gave the offense an opportunity to score points.”
Spanish Springs missed out on the playoffs last season, Borja’s first at the helm, but will return this fall as the High Desert League No. 4 seed.
The Cougars wrap up the regular season next Thursday at Reed, which clinched the league title on Friday night with a win over McQueen, before opening the postseason on the road against the Sierra League champion (likely Carson) on Friday, Nov. 6.
Spanish Springs beat Carson, in Carson, 28-27 last year but fell 28-6 at home to the Senators earlier this season.