FRANKFORT — In a game featuring teams with similar styles, the Class C Frankfort-Schuyler Maroon Knights executed better and won the physical battle up front to defeat Class D West Canada Valley 21-0 Friday night in a nonleague game.
Relying heavily on the one-two punch of quarterback Ethan Irons and running back Jalen Reeves, the Maroon Knights (2-0) controlled the game with long, time-consuming drives. Reeves finished with 110 yards on 20 carries and Irons added 80 yards rushing and 51 passing.
“All around we did well,” said Irons a junior and two-year starter. “Offensively we made some plays, but I also think we can improve. We just need to clean up assignment mistakes on offense.”
Frankfort’s defense contained West Canada Valley star quarterback Josh Chapin and kept the Indians off the scoreboard. Chapin scored five touchdowns and had 179 yards rushing in the Indians’ season-opening victory last week against South Lewis. Friday night, the Maroon Knights didn’t completely stop Chapin, who rushed for 111 yards on 25 carries, but made him earn every yard, and punished him throughout the night.
“We played well on defense,” said Reeves, who also plays linebacker. “Their quarterback was a tough kid. I give him a lot of credit, but we did the job tonight.”
Led by Irons, Reeves and fullback Nick Manino, the Maroon Knights took control on their opening drive while chewing up 7 minutes, 19 seconds. After 14 consecutive runs, Reeves gave the Maroon Knights a lead they would never relinquish with a 1-yard plunge over right guard on third-and-goal. James Putnam, who made all three extra points, gave Frankfort a 7-0 lead.
On West Canada’s first drive of the second quarter, Maroon Knights cornerback Ryan DeRollo made the defensive play of the night. On a 3rd and 5, DeRollo read the play and stepped in front of Chapin’s pass intended for Brad Bostwick and raced 25 yards down the sideline for a huge touchdown to give Frankfort a 14-0 lead with 10:32 remaining in the first half.
“That was a really good play,” Frankfort-Schuyler head coach Jeff LaGase said. “He read it and stepped in front of the receiver. It really put us in a nice position. It was a big play.”
Trailing 14-0, the Indians took the opening kickoff of the second half and seemed primed to cut Frankfort’s lead in half. After gaining a first down at Frankfort’s 13-yard line, West Canada couldn’t make the play it needed to get back into the game as they turned the ball over on downs after Chapin’s fourth-down run around left end was stopped at the 10-yard line.
West Canada had trouble sustaining any offense the rest of the way. For every good play, there was a breakdown that led to negative play which put the offense behind schedule and in difficult down and distances.
“They were tough up front,” Chapin said. “Their defensive line was very good. It was a good test and shows what we need to work on when we play tough, physical teams. We just need to do a better job executing blocks and being strong up front.”
Indians first-year head coach Todd Hobin liked the fight his team showed throughout the game.
“It’s a measuring stick for us,” said Hobin, who coached for eight seasons, including three as head coach at New Hartford High School. “There is great film for us to look at. We did some good things but kept shooting ourselves in the foot. We have to do a better job converting third downs and keeping the chains moving. What I liked was that we played hard the entire game. Even at the end, I didn’t see any quit in our team and I’m proud of how they played to the very end.”
Frankfort-Schuyler put the game away with another long drive that lasted 11 plays and took 5 minutes, 16 seconds as Irons plunged in on 4th and 1 from the 3-yard line with 9:39 left to help give the Maroon Knights a 21-0 lead.
“Overall I’m proud of our effort,” LaGase said. “We faced a good, physical team and played good defense. It was a battle. It became a war of attrition and we were able to make plays when we had to. It was a good team effort.”
In addition to his interception return, DeRollo had two catches for 25 yards for the Maroon Knights, who play Holland Patent next Friday night under the lights at Rome Free Academy in a battle of unbeaten Class C East foes.
Shawn Pierson rushed for 30 yards on six carries for the Indians (1-1), who begin league play at home next Saturday against Morrisville-Eaton/Hamilton in a Class D East tilt.
Frankfort-Schuyler 21, West Canada Valley 0
WCV 0 0 0 0—0
F-S 7 7 0 7—21
F-Jalen Reeves 1 run (James Putnam kick)
F-Ryan DeRollo 25 interception return (Putnam kick)
F-Ethan Irons 3 run (Putnam kick)