SHORT GAP - When Keyser squared off against Allegany last week, it was mentioned that the two teams were on totally different trajectories. Keyser was riding sky high as an undefeated team putting up amazing offensive and defensive number; Allegany was a team with only two wins and a rash of injuries and low numbers also attributed to kids leaving the team.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
SHORT GAP - When Keyser squared off against Allegany last week, it was mentioned that the two teams were on totally different trajectories. Keyser was riding sky high as an undefeated team putting up amazing offensive and defensive number; Allegany was a team with only two wins and a rash of injuries and low numbers also attributed to kids leaving the team.
This week, as Frankfort hosts the struggling Hampshire Trojans on Senior Night in Short Gap, the same sentiment applies. Frankfort and Hampshire are two teams on two totally different trajectories.
Frankfort enters this week’s matchup with a record of 7-1 and is literally one play away from being undefeated at 8-0. The Falcons have seemed also to ward off the injury bug and to be quite honest, things are going quite swimmingly in Falcon Land.
In Hampshire, however, Frankfort hosts an opponent with a winless 0-8 record besieged with injuries to the point that the junior varsity season has essentially been lost as underclassmen have been moved up to make a viable varsity roster.  It’s tough times indeed for the Trojans under first year head coach Aaron Rule and it’s a situation Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman can sympathize with.
According to Whiteman, “We’ve had seasons like that and it’s unfortunate. We had a year like that in 2011 when we started 0-6.  The good thing about it is that we stated together, we didn’t beat the kids down. We tried to build them up and we talked about adversity and ended up winning three of our last four games. That season meant a lot to me. That season, the way those kids fought and battled through adversity, there’s a lot to be learned when kids battle through that type of stuff.”
While not piling up victories on the field and facing tough sledding in every game, for their part, the Hampshire kids are trying their best and sticking it out through the worst of circumstances.
“I’m sure the Hampshire kids are a little frustrated right now. I think the coach told me they have something like 15 injuries, and that’s difficult. I think they’ll be playing a lot of younger kids Friday night, and he’s a new coach with a new system. There’s a lot of factors there that play into it. It’s unfortunate but I’m sure they’ll work through it and turn things around,” Whiteman explained.
According to Whiteman,“You sympathize with people like that. I try to put myself in those shoes and I’ve been in shoes similar to that. I know how it feels and it’s frustrating, you get to this point in the season and you’re winless, you’re trying to do the best you can.  Kids are getting hurt and people in the community are crucifying the coach, and you know, it’s a difficult situation to be in so I definitely sympathize with them.”
As for game-planning for the Trojans, Whiteman admits that’s it’s not a totally normal situation in the sense that Hampshire’s patchy lineup has been a bit inconsistent.  “It’s difficult when the players are moving in and out due to injury so you can’t key on one person.  But, we have a pretty good idea of what they are trying to do on both sides of the ball.  We’ll just line that up with our scout teams and work through it, practice against it, and do the best we can, Whiteman explains.
Frankfort (7-1) is currently ranked eighth in the West Virginia MetroNews Power Ratings,, but more importantly, the Falcons have moved up into the sixth position in the West Virginia class AA playoff ratings.  Knowing that they’ll certainly have their hands full with Keyser, and vice versa, the Falcons are counting on a win over Hampshire and the AAA win points that brings to strengthen their playoff positioning.
Frankfort is 31-12 all-time against Hampshire and the Falcons have won 11 of the last 12 contests between the two neighboring rivals, including 45 and 35 point victories in their last two matchups. Coach Kevin Whiteman has an undefeated record of 9-0 at Frankfort against Hampshire.