SHORT GAP - Fresh off a gut wrenching 20-19 loss on the road at Washington, the Frankfort Falcons look to rebound on Homecoming night in Short Gap against the visiting Petersburg Vikings.

By Chapin Jewell
Tribune Correspondent
SHORT GAP - Fresh off a gut wrenching 20-19 loss on the road at Washington, the Frankfort Falcons look to rebound on Homecoming night in Short Gap against the visiting Petersburg Vikings.  
Frankfort is 5-0 with victories over Hampshire (46-0), Weir (37-26), Berkeley Springs (41-0), Spring Mills (21-20) and Jefferson (28-19), and now, their lone loss now to Washington (20-19),  Petersburg is 4-1, with a loss to East Hardy (33-0), and victories over Pendleton County (20-14), Pocahontas County (41-21), Independence (50-24) and Hampshire (39-25).
Frankfort leads the series all-time with a record of 33-4 against the Vikings. Two of Petersburg’s four wins in the now 38-year series have come in the last five years.  From 1982-2014, Frankfort won 26 consecutive games against the Vikings.  Petersburg has not won a game in Short Gap since 1980, a game that saw the Vikings win a 22-21 double overtime thriller.
Frankfort comes into the contest rated number three in the WVSSAC West Virginia class AA playoff ratings, and number five in class AA in the WVMetroNews Power Rankings. Petersburg is currently rated fourth in the WVSSAC West Virginia class A playoff ratings and 10th in the WVMetroNews class A Power Rankings.
The Vikings are under new leadership this year as Donny Evans, who was the head coach at Petersburg in 2002, has returned to reclaim the Vikings’ top job in 2020.  Since 2002, Evans has coached as an assistant at Moorefield, Musselman, Martinsburg and Hampshire, and then last season as the head coach of the Romney Pioneers Junior High club.
“It was a big disappointment Friday. I challenged them on Friday night before the game to go out, because we never play well down there, to go out and get the lead at halftime. We went into halftime with a 13-0 lead and I felt pretty good about it told them to go out and finish it off. We made so many mistakes, even from the start of the game, that just shot us in the foot so many times. I feel like we gave the game away,” Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman stated.
According to Whiteman, “We’ve just got to bounce back. The biggest thing we’re struggling with is our total focus for four quarters. We found that out Friday night, so many times when we lost focus, we lost the plays, and they all added up to cost us the ball game. We missed two extra points, had a lot of blown blocking assignments, blown coverage on defense,” Whiteman explained.  
In Petersburg, Frankfort faces an opponent with a new coach and a new scheme, one that’s been successful to this point.
“Donny Evans took over at Petersburg and he’s a spread guy and he does a great job at it.  He’s been around, he was an assistant at Martinsburg for awhile, he’s a very good coach. I’m impressed with the way they run the spread, and especially for his first year coming in and doing a totally different offense than they ran last year.” Whiteman stated.
“Defensively, I’m sure they’re going to pack the box.  It’s difficult when we watch film to know what we’re going to get, because teams play spread teams. Then when they play our Wing T, we’ve been getting totally different looks then what we’ve been practicing all week. I’m sure they’re going to pack the box,” Whiteman explained.  
With Petersburg’s improved play also corresponding with their move down to single A, no doubt there’s a sense at Petersburg that they can make some noise come playoff time.  A win over Frankfort would go a long way to improving Petersburg’s playoff standing.
“I have no doubt that they are confident they can come up here and win, and it’s some big points for them. I definitely think that they are excited about the opportunity to come up here and play us,” Whiteman stated.  
Frankfort of course is right smack in the middle of their own playoff race and the loss to Washington means that the margin for error is slim from here on out. A win over Petersburg, on Homecoming night, would go a long way for the Falcons’ post-season goals as well.