WATERFORD - Fort Frye is on the "road" at Waterford in Week 3 of its football campaign.
It's only a 5-minute bus ride, if that, from Beverly to Wildcat field across the Muskingum River. Some people even refer to the gridiron contest as "The Battle of the Muskingum River."
"It's a tough place to play," said sixth-year Fort Fyre head coach Eric Huck. "It's a big game every year. It's a rivalry game, and it's intense. It has quite an atmosphere."
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Belpre's Dejon Bedgood (6) tries to elude the grasp of Fort Frye's Chandler Lang (11) as the Cadets' Garrett Lochary (7) closes in during the first quarter of a football game in Belpre on Sept. 6. Fort Frye beat Belpre 41-28. The Cadets are slated to play at Waterford Friday night.
Tom Tucker agreed.
"It's a pretty fun game," added the Waterford gridiron boss. "And, it's good for the community."
In the all-time series, Fort Frye has enjoyed the whip hand. Before 2001, the Cadets captured 20 of the 22 games played.
All-time football series
2012: Fort Frye 63, Waterford 13
2011: Fort Frye 34, Waterford 0
2010: Fort Fyre 27, Waterford 0
2009: Fort Frye 35, Waterford 6
2008: Fort Frye 14, Waterford 0
2007: Waterford 25, Fort Frye 7
2006: Waterford 26, Fort Frye 0
2005: Waterford 31, Fort Frye 12
2004: Fort Frye 15, Waterford 12
2003: Waterford 20, Fort Frye 17
2002: Waterford 28, Fort Frye 20
Then, Waterford won six of eight, but has never claimed more than three in a row. The Wildcats' last victory over the Cadets was in 2007.
Currently, The Fort has won five straight, including last year's 63-13 trouncing in Beverly.
"When you beat Fort Frye, it's a big morale boost," Tucker said. "Sometimes, it can make a hard season easier."
So far this season, the Cadets, the only Washington County football team to compete in the postseason last year, have posted a 2-0 record, while the Cats are 1-1.
"We're off to a good start," Huck said. "But we haven't played nearly as well as we can."
After beating River in its season and home opener, Fort Frye visited Belpre at Ralph Holder Stadium in Week 2, and had to stage a second-half rally to win 41-28. Chandler Lang led the way, rushing for 84 yards and two touchdowns and completing eight of 15 throws for 82 yards and another score.
Zach Prichard added two TDs for the winners, including an 80-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.
"We had four turnovers in the first quarter," said Huck of the game. "But we weathered the storm, kept our focus and composure, and came back.
"We have a lot of work to do, and need to get off to a better start against Waterford."
Meanwhile, over at Waterford on that same evening, the Wildcats struggled against Federal Hocking, dropping a 40-0 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division decision. The green and white only ran four offensive plays in the game in Lancer territory.
"Federal Hocking had some pretty nice skills people," Tucker said. "And, we're still a pretty young team."
Against Fort Frye, freshman Isaac Huffman is expected to start at quarterback. Jaret McCutcheon and Austin Lang will probably be doing most of the ball carrying.
"Huffman is a pretty good QB," Huck said. "And, McCutcheon and Lang run hard."
Needless to say, Tucker is hoping his Cats can bounce back from the Fed Hock game. "We've got to put points on the board," he said, "and the kids need to play hard - and then we'll see how things go."