MINDEN – Winning in the postseason is tough. Winning in the postseason, on the road, without three top players, including the team’s heart, is nearly impossible.
Spanish Springs senior quarterback Korbin Marcum did everything he could from the sideline in Friday’s 4A North quarterfinal at Douglas while donning a backwards cap and a back pack. He cheered before plays. He yelled during them. He jumped up and down after them. A couple times, he nearly ran onto the field to celebrate.
It wasn’t enough.
The Cougars’ season ended with a 24-6 loss to the Tigers.
“Obviously Korbin our heart on the offense, and pretty much our team,” Spanish Springs coach Eric Borja said. “Our biggest supporter on the sideline was Korbin. That just shows him and his character. But yeah, definitely hard to overcome those losses.”
Marcum missed the game with a concussion suffered in last week’s loss at Reed. Joining him on the sideline were two-way starters Isaac Ruiz and Austin Cadenhead. Both suffered first-half injuries and did not return.
After getting outscored 24-0 and outgained 253-93 in the first 24 minutes, a different Spanish Springs team emerged from the locker room.
The Cougars held the Tigers to 59 yards in the second half, while keeping them off the board. Offensively, Spanish Springs compiled 115 second-half yards, including a 14-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a three-yard Gabby Ordaz touchdown run early in the fourth.
“I think it was just our conversation at halftime,” Borja said. “I think we had some guys in our locker room talk about what it means to play football at Spanish Springs. Our kids came out in the second half and performed.”
Ordaz finished with 88 yards rushing and the Cougars’ lone touchdown on 19 touches. He also caught six passes for 25 yards.
Junior Frankie Tiernan filled in for Marcum behind center. In his first varsity start, he completed 17-of-24 passes for 125 yards and an interception on a deep ball into the end zone. He also ran the ball 11 times for 39 yards.
“I’m proud of him (Tiernan),” Borja said. “I’m proud of him for stepping in. Think about it, he’s been under Korbin’s wing almost the whole season. He got his shot … Obviously he’s going to watch film and get better and get ready for next year.”
Led by Tiernan, Spanish Springs received the opening kick and marched to the Douglas 31 before the drive stalled. A bad punt snap set the Tigers up at the Cougars’ 49. Three plays later, quarterback Hunter Hickey broke free for an 18-yard touchdown.
The Tigers scored on all three of their following possessions before the break. Jush Gurule hit a 24-yard field goal. Ryland DeSomber scored on a 15-yard touchdown run. And Michael Cobb hauled in a 20-yard touchdown grab from Hickey with 52 seconds left in the second quarter to make it 24-0.
Douglas, the Sierra League runner up, improved to 6-4 with the victory in its first home playoff game in seven years. The Tigers advanced to the 4A North semifinals. They will play at Reed on Thursday.
Spanish Springs, the High Desert League No. 3 seed, finished the season 5-5, dropping its last three games of the year.
“We need to build on the success of this year,” Borja said. “Hopefully our younger guys see what it takes to get this level and hopefully grow a little bit more. Five wins on the year, was hoping for six. But it is what it is. We’ll get better next year.”