PETERSBURG - Despite the fact that Frankfort had dominated the series all-time with Petersburg with a 32-4 record entering Friday's contest, in the last four matchups the teams were knotted up at two games apiece. Frankfort entered Friday's game looking to break that 2-2 tie and more importantly to get one step closer to becoming playoff eligible for the second season in a row.
By Chapin Jewell
PETERSBURG - Despite the fact that Frankfort had dominated the series all-time with Petersburg with a 32-4 record entering Friday’s contest, in the last four matchups the teams were knotted up at two games apiece. Frankfort entered Friday’s game looking to break that 2-2 tie and more importantly to get one step closer to becoming playoff eligible for the second season in a row.
Mission accomplished. With a dominating, 35-6 performance, led as it has been all-season by a punishing ground attack, the Falcons earned the victory in a game that was never in doubt.
Frankfort scored 14 points in both the first and second quarters to take a 28-0 lead into halftime. In the third quarter, the Falcons tacked on an additional seven points to extend their lead to 35-0 heading into the fourth quarter. With a running clock in the fourth, Petersburg would eventually get on the board to make the final score 35-6 in favor of the Falcons.
“Any time you have 400 plus yards of offense you have to be pleased. It helps a lot that we have multiple threats,” Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman explained.
Those “multiple threats” Whiteman references begins with the three-headed rushing attack of Nick Marley, Peyton Shanholtz and JJ Blank. Against Petersburg, this trio combined for 334 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. Those 334 yards came on just 22 carries, meaning Marley, Shanholtz and Blank averaged 15.2 yards per carry combined.
Marley led the way with three touchdowns and 169 yards on ten carries for a 16.9 yards per carry average. Shanholtz rushed for 75 yards and one touchdown on seven carries for a 10.7 per carry average; Blank ran for 90 yards and one touchdown on just five carries for an 18.0 yards per carry average.
According to Whiteman, “We still put ourselves in a couple second and third and long situations and we have to eliminate that. Overall, we were pleased with our performance.”
Frankfort’s five scoring drive came off three, four, four, two and ten play drives. In total, the Falcons averaged 4.6 plays per scoring drives.
Frankfort got on the board first with 10:39 remaining in the first quarter when JJ Blank found the end zone from 54 yards out, capping off a three-play, 74-yard drive. The next Falcon score came with 4:24 remaining in the opening frame when Nick Marley ran for a 28-yard scoring strike. With successful kick conversions by kicker Brady Aldridge, the Falcons ended the first quarter with a 14-0 advantage.
In the second quarter, Peyton Shanholtz would score on a six-yard run with 5:57 remaining, ending a four-play, 69-yard drive. Nick Marley would score his second of three touchdowns with 2:29 remaining in the first half on a 45-yard scamper on only the second play of the drive. More successful kick conversions from Brady Aldridge gave the Falcons a decided 28-0 lead at the half.
With a shutout performance at halftime, Frankfort’s defensive unit would go on to yield only six points in the second half in the Falcons’ 35-6 victory. Petersburg could only muster up 49 rushing yards on 28 attempts for a 1.75 yard per carry average. The Vikings would pass for a total of 197 yards as Petersburg’s quarterbacks went 9 for 15 through the air. In the one statistic that counts the most, however, the score, six points was nowhere near enough for Petersburg to warn a win against Frankfort.
Petersburg’s 246 total yards was just shy of half of Frankfort’s offensive production of 452 yards, all of which came on the ground.
Despite Frankfort holding Petersburg to only six points in the contest, Whiteman saw room for improvement, “We held them to six points but defensively our tackling was poor at times. We were over-pursuing and at times our pass coverage was weak.”
According to Whiteman, “I thought Petersburg did a nice job with how they were trying to attack us, and they played hard the entire game.”
Leading 28-0 at halftime, Frankfort’s Nick Marley would score his third touchdown of the game, a three-yard touchdown plunge with 2:19 to go in the quarter. Marley’s score capped off a 10-play, 87-yard drive that would eat up 4:48 of clock. The Brady Aldridge kick concluded Frankfort’s scoring at 35 points.
For a time, it looked as though Frankfort would earn the shutout, but Petersburg didn’t go down without a fight to put points on the board. With 11:5 remaining in the game, Viking quarterback Dawson Tingler hit freshman Peyton Day on a four-yard touchdown strike to erase the zero from Petersburg’s side of the scoreboard. The game would conclude with Frankfort earning the 35-6 victory.
With the win, Frankfort advances their record to 8-1 on the season with matchups remaining against neighbors and rivals Hampshire and Keyser. The Falcons will get one week of rest in the bye week after playing Hampshire and before playing Keyser.
It is projected that Frankfort will be ranked sixth in this week’s West Virginia class AA playoff ratings. The Falcons also move up to the eight spot in the West Virginia MetroNews Power Rankings.
Also with the victory, Frankfort advances their record all-time against Petersburg to 33-4. Likewise, while two of Petersburg’s wins in the series had come in the previous four games, Frankfort can no lay claim to beating Petersburg in three of the last five seasons.
Frankfort, a decided favorite in next week’s matchup with Hampshire, is looking to lock down a playoff spot and possibly even earn a first-round home playoff game. The final regular season matchup with Keyser in the Mineral Bowl will go a along with in determining playoff seeding for both teams.