Springfield soccer players bring a winning mentality to the pitch after historic season – WHIO TV 7 and WHIO Radio


SPRINGFIELD – There isn’t much time to rest in Springfield. Every member of the Wildcats varsity basketball team was part of the football team that reached the state championship game.

They played on Friday night and then a few days later were in the gym for the first time as they got ready for basketball season.

The rapid recovery comes with several challenges.

“Oh man, I feel like I haven’t been on the basketball court in ages,” Springfield senior Eddie Muhammad said. “The transition is very different. The packaging is different.

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“Use muscle in basketball that you don’t use in football,” said Micha Johnson, senior of Springfield. “Getting those muscles back is a little different. Having the feel of the pitch instead of wearing crampons all the time is different. “

“The start and the stop,” said Shawn McCullough, Springfield basketball head coach. “On the football field you get time, you get a game clock, you get rest. Basketball, you know, they came in yesterday and was going up and down and you see them with their hands on their knees sucking in the wind, really tired and exhausted, so it’s just a different kind of conditioning.

Due to the deep run in the playoffs, Springfield has already had to reschedule several basketball games, including one against Centerville which was scheduled for the same night as the state championship football game.

McCullough was patient, knowing he would have to wait for the varsity team to get to the gym to practice. He was on the sidelines every game watching the Wildcats enjoy the best season in school history.

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“It was a great feeling,” McCullough said. “Seeing these guys, these young men win, it’s very exciting. It was an exciting time for Springfield.

For months there was only one goal. It was trying to win a state football championship.

“After Friday, I mean Friday night, that’s when we started talking about basketball,” Johnson said.

Muhammad and Johnson have both said it would only take a few games to start feeling comfortable. McCullough, however, shared a much more realistic timeline of what he’s seen in the past and what it’s like to try and make the turnaround quickly.

“It’s going to take at least a month on my mind,” McCullough said. “The beauty, as I’ve shared with you in the past, is that anyone can participate in the tournament. Compared to a situation in football where few teams go to the playoffs. We will be ready by the time of the tournament.

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There is one thing that does not change about sport, and that is the expectations.

“I feel like going from football to basketball really brings the winning mentality,” Muhammad said.

“We have to win games,” Johnson said. “We just have to win. In football our expectations were so high and we have come so far that we cannot fail on the basketball court.

“People will want to catch up with us early because once the tournament starts, we’re good to go,” said McCullough.

McCullough played football and basketball in high school and knows what the transition looks like. He also experienced what it’s like to play soccer and basketball with the same group of guys.

“I feel like we are brothers,” Muhammad said. “We’ve been together, we’ve been together for months on a soccer field and now in the transition to basketball. We feel together.

Springfield managed to postpone Friday’s game against Fairmont so that the Wildcats kick off the season Tuesday at Cincinnati St. Xavier.


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