Frankfort – The big play in Friday’s Class D showdown between Westmoreland and Frankfort-Schuyler came in the Nick of time.
Senior Nick Manino stripped the ball away from a Bulldog runner and returned the fumble 79 yards midway in the first quarter. That dramatic play set up his first touchdown run of the Homecoming game October 7 and helped the Maroon Knights post a 25-14 win that kept the hosts unbeaten at 6-0.
“That was a 12-point swing in the first quarter,” veteran Bulldogs coach Tim Gates lamented afterward. “We had a great drive and were moving the ball consistently. That (play) is stuff you can’t do against a good team. Credit to them.”
Westmoreland deserved the credit at the start by shutting down the state-ranked hosts on the first three plays from scrimmage. After an F-S punt, the Bulldogs (2-4) marched from their 48 to the F-S 26 in five plays. Noah Bowen had a 15-yard run and quarterback Colin DeBiase had option runs of 10 and eight yards to do most of the damage. Those plays set up another good run by Bowen that Manino stole the show on by stripping the ball out of his hands in a crowd at the F-S 19. The 6-foot, 185-pound senior then ran the ball to the Westmoreland 2-yard line before being tackled from behind.
That just delayed the inevitable as he scored on a 2-yard run on the next play.
The hosts had another big play about a minute later as Jason Yelle intercepted a DeBiase pass over the middle. Manino and Josh Morgan ran well and Ethan Irons had a pass to John Irons for a good gain to get F-S to the Westmoreland 4. The Bulldogs stopped the Knights on fourth down to keep it a 6-0 game to end the first quarter.
Gates’ team opened the second quarter with another long drive, this one ending when Manino pounced on a misplayed handoff near midfield. Four plays later Manino had a 42-yard run for his second TD of the night and he added the extra points for a 14-0 edge.
After Matt Iacovozzi keyed a good defensive stand, Coach Jeff LeGase’s team ran a hurry-up offense at the end of the half to stretch the lead. A pass interference penalty in the end zone helped along with a great scramble by Ethan Irons. John Banas kicked a 26-yard field goal from a tough angle as time expired to stretch the lead to 17-0.
“We made two or three mistakes,” Gates said of the keys to the game, “but today was the most fight we’ve shown against a good team.”
The Bulldogs had more than just fight in the second half. They scored twice on the stingy F-S defense. The first came oin the opening drive as Jacob Crandall, DeBiase and Bowen had the big gains. Bowen capped the drive with a 5-yard TD run and Dawson Cook made the best of a high snap on the extra point by passing to DeBiase for two points.
The hosts responded with a long scoring drive that ended early in the fourth quarter. Ethan Irons had a 5-yard option run for the TD and Manino added the extra points for a 25-8 lead. DeBiase ended the scoring with a 3-yard run late in the game.
Westmoreland 0 0 8 6 – 14
Frankfort-Sch 6 11 0 8 – 25
F: Nick Manino 2 run (run failed)
F: Manino 42 run (Manino run)
F: John Banas 26 FG
W: Noah Bowen 5 run (Dawson Cook pass to Colin DeBiase)
F: Ethan Irons 5 run (Manino run)
W: DeBiase 3 run (run failed)
Records: Westmoreland 2-4, F-S 6-0.