HARROD — Fighting through adversity is one thing coaches always preach.
After Spencerville’s hard-fought 27-20 overtime victory over Allen East on Friday night, first-year Spencerville coach Chris Sommers is gleaming with delight.
Sommers, who was the longtime football coach at Delphos Jefferson, came into Friday’s Northwest Conference opener with a young and injury-ridden squad.
However, Sommers’ squad found ways to fight back and secure a victory at Bill Goodwin Stadium.
With Spencerville leading 20-13 with 43 seconds left to play in regulation, Allen East freshman quarterback Tyler Clum found Bradden Crumrine (three catches, 69 yards) open for a 6-yard scoring strike. With the extra point by Garret Neth, the game was knotted at 20 apiece.
Then, on the first possession of overtime, Cannan Johnson ran it in from 1 yard out, giving Spencerville (2-2, 1-0 NWC) the lead.
The Spencerville defense then turned away Allen East (1-3, 0-1) on its overtime possession to secure the thrilling win.
“I’ve seen more adversity in the first four weeks of this season,” Sommers said. “We have not come into one game healthy. We lost (starting running back) Chris Picker for two weeks. … He’ll be back next week, which we are excited about.
“We’re putting a lot of guys in different places. And all I can say about our guys is that they come to work every day and get ready to go. I love this team. I love their heart, and most importantly, what they want to do, which is trying to get better.”
Johnson led the Spencerville running attack with 122 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns. Teammate Joel Lotz rushed for 71 yards on 28 carries and a TD.
“Our young guys are getting older, and that’s the one thing we told them that we wanted them to do,” Sommers said. “Lotz — he’s a sophomore — I thought he did a fantastic job taking over for Chris (Picker). The seniors took it upon themselves this week. We don’t have a lot of them (seniors), but they are good ones.”
Clum came in for starting quarterback Bryce Belcher in the second half. Clum ended the game 6 of 11 passing for 133 yards and two TDs. Belcher was 9 of 21 passing for 76 yards and a score.
“Mustangs never quit,” Allen East coach Mike Abbey said. “That’s the one thing I can always say about our kids. … They never quit.”
The Lima News sports department can be reached at 567-242-0451.