SHORT GAP - Frankfort's 54-29 Homecoming victory over Washington was bookended by fireworks. Senior JJ Blank produced the first display of fireworks on the game's first play, returning the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for success immediately. When the clock struck zero at the end of the game, a second set of fireworks, this display illuminating the night sky above the Frankfort field house, signaled the end of a successful and memorable night.
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - Frankfort’s 54-29 Homecoming victory over Washington was bookended by fireworks. Senior JJ Blank produced the first display of fireworks on the game’s first play, returning the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown, setting the tone for success immediately. When the clock struck zero at the end of the game, a second set of fireworks, this display illuminating the night sky above the Frankfort field house, signaled the end of a successful and memorable night.
As it was Homecoming night at Frankfort, the usual supportive and enthusiastic crowd was larger and more enthusiastic than usual. There was the crowning of a king and queen, a very robust and excitable student section armed with baby powder and face and body paint, and of course, fireworks, on and off the field.
The Falcons did their job on the field to inspire the home crowd. With a dazzling display of offense, a performance that included seven touchdowns and two field goals, and a defense that limited Washington to half of Frankfort’s offensive output, the Falcons soared through their seventh contest of the year as impressively as any other performance on the season.
Now 6-1 on the season, the Falcons will now start to pay closer attention to playoff rating points, as they look to make the playoffs for the 20th time in Frankfort’s 44th year of playing football.
“We want to make the playoffs, that’s always our goal, so we keep an eye on the playoff points. This time of year you’re looking at it closer because you hope you can get a home playoff game,” Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman explained.
Whiteman liked what he saw, both in terms of his team’s performance on the field and the support of the community and student body in the stands.
According to Whiteman, “It was a great turnout and I appreciate the community’s support and all the kids in the school that came out; I thought we had a large amount of kids cheering in this one corner down here.”
JJ Blank’s kickoff return for a touchdown on the game’s opening play set the tone early for a night of Frankfort successes. The Falcons jumped out to 14-0 lead in the game’s first quarter. In addition to Blank’s kickoff return for a touchdown (the point after was no good), Frankfort’s second touchdown came on a one-yard touchdown plunge by Jansen Moreland; a successful two-point conversion by Peyton Shanholtz gave the Falcons the 14-0 lead.
One minute into the second quarter, Nick Marley scored on a 67-yard touchdown scamper that along with Brady Aldridge’s kick extended the Frankfort lead to 21-0. Frankie Amore connected with Jace Bradbury on a six-yard touchdown strike to put Washington on the board (21-7) with 6:05 remaining in the first half.
At the 2:20 mark of the second quarter, Nick Marley’s second of three touchdowns on the game from six yards out, along with Aldridge’s kick, extended the Falcon lead to 28-7. Less than one minute later, Washington quarterback Frankie Amore, this time with his legs, ran 54-yards for a Patriots touchdown to narrow Frankfort’s lead to 28-13. With 21 seconds remaining on the second quarter clock, Marley’s three-yard touchdown run with the Aldridge extra point gave the Falcons a 35-14 halftime lead.
Frankfort would ultimately dominate the game statistically and in scoring. The Falcons would more than double Washington in total offense, outgaining the Patriots 500 total yards to 238. Frankfort did the bulk of their damage on the ground, rushing 55 times for 445 yards and six touchdowns. By contrast, Washington would rush for only 106 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries. The Patriots did have the edge in passing, completing nine of 19 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown, compared to Frankfort’s five completions in ten attempts.
To amass this statistical advantage, Frankfort used a second half that was nearly as dominant as the first half, scoring an additional 29 points and yielding only 16.
JJ Blank’s 30-yard touchdown run and Brady Aldridge kick at the 9:45 mark of the third quarter extended the Falcons’ lead to 42-13. Frankfort’s next three points would come on a Brady Aldridge field goal, but not just any ordinary field goal, it was a 44-yard, school record breaking field goal to put the Falcons on top 45-13 with 4:09 to go in the third quarter.
Washington quarterback Frankie Amore would find Taylor Bosley for an 18-yard strike, that, with the two point conversion, narrowed the gap with Frankfort slightly, 45-21. Peyton Shanholtz would then score for the Falcons from five-yards out, with the extra point no good, the Falcons led 51-21 with 8:02 remaining in the contest.
Washington would get on the board once more, this time with a kickoff return for a touchdown from Taylor Bosley. With the two point conversion, the Falcons still had a commanding 51-29 lead. That lead would be extended further when Brady Aldridge would hit another field goal, this one from 23-yards out with 2:05 remaining to give the Falcons the 54-29 victory.
According to Whiteman, “It was a fun evening, the kids played hard and I’m proud of their effort.”
Whiteman was also quick to praise the performance and demeanor of the visiting Washington Patriots. “They did a good job. I figured they would make some plays, they have some good athletic kids. I love the way they kept fighting, I loved their attitude, I loved their sportsmanship, and I thought they played a hard game.”
In the victory, Frankfort was led on the ground by Nick Marley with his three-touchdown performance; Marley rushed for 163 yards on 21 carries. Peyton Shanholtz was second, finishing just one yard shy of the century mark with 99 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown; JJ Blank added 90 yards on seven carries with one rushing touchdown; Jansen Moreland added one touchdown and 26 yards on five carries; Jansen Knotts added 35 yards on four carries.
Through the air, Frankfort quarterback Jansen Knotts connected on five completions in ten attempts for 55 yards. JJ Blank was the Falcons’ leading receiver with 43 yards on four catches; Brock Robinette had 12 yards on one completion.
On special teams, Frankfort kicker Brady Aldridge connected on two field goals of 44 and 23 yards respectively, and successfully made four extra-point kicks in six attempts. JJ Blank had the kickoff return for a touchdown.
Washington’s Frankie Amore had a hand in the vast majority of the Patriots’ offense. Amore rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and passed for an additional two touchdowns and 132 yards, going nine for 19 in attempts. On special teams, Taylor Bosley had a kickoff return for a touchdown.
Throughout the entirety of the game, Washington had zero success at stopping Frankfort’s explosive offense. The Falcons committed no turnovers and never once punted.
Defensively, the Falcons were led by Jacob Wilkins and Jansen Moreland with four tackles each; Andy Westfall was next with three tackles; Greg McCoy, Cole Hiett and Brock Robinette each contributed two tackles each.
With the victory, Frankfort improves their record to 6-1 on the season. The Falcons have bumped up to the ninth spot in the West Virginia MetroNews Power Ratings. More importantly, however, it is projected that the Falcons will leap into sole possession of the seventh spot in the WVSSAC class AA playoff ratings.
Frankfort (6-1) will hit the road this Friday, travelling to Grant County to take on the 3-3 Petersburg Vikings. Washington (2-4) will travel to Preston (1-5).
The stage was set Friday night for a night of memory-making, exciting action on and off the field at Frankfort’s Homecoming. By the time the smoke cleared from the post-game fireworks, the players on the field and students in the stands made sure the night lived up to its billing. The excitement of the night will springboard the Falcons into the final stretch of the regular season, and hopefully beyond.