Frankfort looks to stay unbeaten at Jefferson
By Chapin Jewell
SHORT GAP - As Frankfort takes to the field tonight in Shenandoah Junction to take on the host Jefferson Cougars, they will do so with an undefeated record of 4-0 and fresh off a dramatic and playoff-points productive victory over then class AAA number one rated Spring Mills.
Those four wins are over Hampshire (46-0), Weir (37-26), Berkeley Springs (41-0) and Spring Mills (21-20). Frankfort’s two wins have come against two AAA and two AA opponents.
The Falcons’ offense is doing the bulk of its damage on the ground, with a few well-placed passes thrown in at key times to keep the defense honest. Frankfort is averaging 36 points per game, 281 rushing yards per game, and 58 yards through the air per contest. The rushing attack is spread out among backs, in order of yards production, Jansen Moreland, Peyton Clark, Cole Hiett, Parker VanMeter, Andrew Westfall and Logan Kinser. Quarterback Colton McTaggart has all 230 passing yards with Brock Robinette and Jake Clark leading the way in receptions.
While Frankfort has got the job done on offense, defense is where the Falcons have really excelled, posting two shutouts in four games and in particular holding a high-powered Spring Mills offense to only 14 points in regulation, and 20 total points including overtime. The Falcons are giving up on average only 11.5, rounded up to 12 points per game. This, combined with the offense’s performance, has allowed Frankfort to triple-up their opponents by an average score of 36-12 per contest.
In Jefferson, Frankfort faces an opponent they hold a 2-0 all-time record against. Frankfort last played and subsequently defeated the Cougars 35-7 in 1996 and 33-22 in 1997. This will mark the first matchup between the two schools in 23 years.
Jefferson comes into tonight’s contest with a record of 1-2 and are fresh off three straight losing seasons. In 2020, the Cougars fell 49-6 to Musselman in game one, defeated Greenbrier East 43-22 in game two, then fell to Spring Mills 52-28 in game three. Obviously, the common opponent shared between Jefferson and Frankfort is Spring Mills, with the Falcons edging the Cardinals 21-20 in overtime and the Cougars losing to the Cardinals by a 24-point margin.
“Offensively, they are a spread team who predominantly throws the ball, that is the strength of their offense. Their quarterback throws a nice ball and they have some nice, speedy receivers. Their speed on the edge and speedy receivers in space concerns me,” Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman stated. “Defensively, they run a 4-2-5, which we have seen a couple of times this year. Again, their overall team speed on both sides of the ball is a concern.
According to Whiteman, “To win the game, we are going to have to be able to run the ball effectively. We still need to throw the ball more than we’ve been throwing. Hopefully, the utilization of different running backs will again be effective. We can’t turn the ball over like we have done in other games. We have to do a lot better job just holding onto the football. On defense, we need to keep the receivers in front of us.”
Essentially, Frankfort looks to employ a similar game plan to that which was used last week to defeat Spring Mills. Whiteman indicates that other keys to the game will be both physical play and maintaining the high level of special teams play his Falcons have demonstrated.
“It is a must that we play physical. Sometimes, teams that are finesse-oriented don’t like the physical part of the game. And, we have to keep doing the good job we’ve been doing on special teams. I am very proud of what our special teams have been able to do in all our games. People don’t always realize the importance they play to your overall success.
A natural concern is whether Frankfort could experience a letdown after such an emotional, thrilling win last week. For Whiteman, he doesn’t see that as a problem.
“I’m not too concerned about a hangover from last week. It was a nice win and we celebrated but I think this week the kids have been very focused and it has been a very good week of practice. Even Tuesday in the pouring down rain, the entire practice the kids were very focused and we had a nice, physical practice,” Whiteman stated. “I truly believe we will arrive in Shenandoah Junction ready to play four quarters of Frankfort football.”