FRANKFORT, NY– The Frankfort-Schuyler faithful held their breath when star running back Joe Streeter left the game in the first half on Friday night with an apparent shoulder injury.
Then, they had to hold it all the way to the end.
The Irons brothers, John and Ethan, along with Nick Manino, shouldered the burden Streeter left them, taking the Knights the rest of the way and sweating out a 24-20 victory over West Canada Valley to
stay atop the Class D East.
“When it seemed we had our backs against the wall, they never gave up,” Frankfort-Schuyler head coach Jeff LaGase said. “When the fourth quarter came around, we played with energy and made the plays…I’m
proud of my boys. They made Frankfort proud.”
The Knights would get on the board first, taking the ball 95 yards down the field and eating up over a quarter of the first period. Streeter’s abbreviated day would start very well, as he rumbled around the left side for a 15-yard touchdown to put the Knights up 8-0 early.
The Indians would do the same thing with their first possession, taking the ball 65 yards in almost six minutes before their scoring drive. West Canada Valley would rely on their workhorse, Shawn Pierson, to get their first points, as he would drive the final two yards to give West Canada Valley its first touchdown. However, in a pattern that would haunt the Indians all night, the conversion failed, and they found themselves down by two, 8-6.
That score would hold until about halfway through the second quarter, before quarterback Matt Tobin would sneak in from one yard out to give the Indians a slim 12-8 lead.
West Canada Valley would have one more chance to extend the lead before the half, and drove all the way down into the red zone. However, the Knights would thwart that drive with just 27 seconds left in the half, on an interception by John Irons. Two plays later, the score at halftime would be the same: 12-7, Indians.
Pierson would extend the lead for the Indians, but not before he and Tobin led West Canada Valley on a 14-play drive that would take up over half the period. Pierson would run the ball in from five yards out, but yet again, the conversion would fail, and the Indians found themselves with a comfortable margin, 18-8.
Frankfort-Schuyler would answer right back on their next drive. On that drive, which featured a sort of game of catch between the Irons brothers (five passes between them on that drive alone, three of them completed), the Knights drove all the way from their own 40-yard line to the West Canada eight-yard line. The game of catch would end favorably for the Knights, as Ethan would float one to John for the touchdown. However, where the Indians failed, the Knights succeeded, as Ethan Irons would find Anthony Tubia for the two point conversion to bring the Knights within two, 18-16.
That, unfortunately, was where the wheels began to fall off the wagon for West Canada Valley.
After an onside kick that bounced off of an Indians player into the Knights’ possession, Frankfort-Schuyler began at the West Canada 44-yard line. Aided by two big penalties, the Knights chewed up the rest of the third quarter, needing only one play in the fourth quarter before Manino rumbled in from one yard out to give the Knights their first lead since the first quarter, at 24-18.
Two false start penalties would derail another Indian drive close to the red zone, the drive ending on fourth down with an incomplete pass from Tobin to Kristopher Crossett. They would get another chance on an
interception by Ethan Irons. However, the Indians would bog down again, this time coming by chain links just outside the 20-yard line.
This time, the Knights (3-0, 3-0 D East) used a little bit of trickery to run out the clock. Irons would run out of his own end zone, giving the Indians their final two points of the night. Then, on the ensuing free kick, the ball would bounce away from West Canada Valley again, this time in Frankfort-Schuyler possession to end the
night for the Indians.
For West Canada Valley (2-1, 2-1 D East) head coach Todd Hobin, the Indians would use this as a learning experience.
“Would I wish for a better outcome? Absolutely,” Hobin said after the game. “We shoot ourselves in the foot; that’s hard to overcome. That’s a process we’re going through. They’ll watch this film and they’ll work hard [in practice]. They won’t turn over and die.”
For LaGase, it was a case of motivation from his senior leaders that got them through the final period.
“I’m proud of our kids,” LaGase said. “They just keep battling and keep playing. Ethan [Irons] played well…he’s a senior leader. I told them at halftime, big players make big plays on big days, and that’s exactly what they did.”
If that’s the case, it’s going to be hard for the Irons brothers and Manino to fit in the door on Monday.
Frankfort-Schuyler Maroon Knights 24, West Canada Valley Indians 20
F-S 8 0 8 8 24
WCV 6 6 6 2 20
F-S: Joe Streeter 15 yard run (Ethan Irons run), 8:14
WCV: Shawn Pierson 2 yard run (conversion failed), 2:37
WCV: Matt Tobin 1 yard run (conversion failed), 7:33
WCV: Pierson 5 yard run (conversion failed), 5:18
F-S: John Irons 8 yard pass from Ethan Irons (E. Irons pass to Anthony
F-S: Nick Manino 4 yard run (E. Irons run), 11:54
WCV: Safety (E. Irons ran out of end zone), 1:01