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Published: Saturday, 8/23/2008

Page explodes for 426 yards as Blue Devils rout Rockets

BY ZACH SILKA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Springfi eld s Tony Shepler hauls in a pass from Eric Page and runs it in for a touchdown.
Springfi eld s Tony Shepler hauls in a pass from Eric Page and runs it in for a touchdown.
THE BLADE/JEREMY WADSWORTH Enlarge | Buy This Photo

OAK HARBOR - Like lightning during a summer thunderstorm, it wasn't a matter of if but when and where Eric Page would strike next.

The opening week of the Eric Page Experience went off without a hitch, as Springfield easily rolled past Oak Harbor 58-14 to open the football season.

The senior quarterback was involved in every Springfield score in the first half, rushing for four touchdowns and throwing for two while generating 379 yards of total offense.

He finished 8-of-12 with 188 yards and two touchdown passes to go with 238 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground after playing just one series in the second half.

"I thought he started a little slow tonight," Springfield coach Dave Connelly said. "Eric is Eric, and we're getting some help from some other guys."

It wasn't until the 5:30 mark in the second quarter that somebody other than Page ran or threw the ball when Jaron Jones rushed for six yards.

The Blue Devils scored in all seven possessions when Page was under center.

"Everything was clicking, and everything was open," Page said. "It just seemed like I could run forever. I'm not out of breath or anything. I don't know."

Page got things going for the Blue Devils 4:06 into the contest on a 14-yard touchdown run after keeping it himself on an option right.

Oak Harbor managed to answer right back on its ensuing possession with an 80-yard scoring drive capped off by junior quarterback Brad Perry's 33-yard touchdown run with 2:12 remaining in the first quarter.

Perry rolled right but cut back to the left after finding some daylight at the line of scrimmage and scampered down the left sideline untouched.

He was limited the rest of the game, however, and finished

1-for-6 with 11 passing yards.

"We let in that one score, but that's OK," Connelly said. "I'm never out to embarrass any team."

The Blue Devils took the lead for good just nine seconds after Oak Harbor's first score on Page's 56-yard lob to Tyler Grogg.

On Springfield's next play from scrimmage, Page dropped back and tossed a rainbow to a wide open Grogg, who jogged into the end zone.

After starting the second quarter with a one-yard scoring plunge, Page added his third - and most impressive - touchdown run with 8:15 remaining before halftime.

Page found a seam on the right side of the line and burst down the sideline, putting distance between himself and the Rocket defenders with every step.

Because of Page and the efforts of the other Blue Devils, Connelly said he likes his team's chances for success this season.

"We haven't won an opening game in five years," Connelly said. "It didn't matter who we played, we just couldn't get that win the last couple years. It's so hard to get those kids to believe in what you want to teach [when that happens], so this is a great start for us."

Contact Zach Silka at:

zsilka@theblade.com.



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