BEVERLY - Fort Frye clinched a Division VI football playoff berth with a home win against a winless team.
Now, the Cadets get to prepare for an undefeated squad on the road in the opening round of postseason competition.
From one extreme to the other.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Fort Frye's Derek Layton (31) races past the defense of Bishop Rosecrans' Trent Lyons (6) during the first quarter of a football game in Beverly last Friday night. The Cadets won 59-7.
KEVIN PIERSON The Marietta Times
Fort Frye seniors CJ Huck (28) and Garrett Hall (63) prepare for the snap against Bishop Rosecrans in the first quarter of a football game in Beverly last Friday night. Fort Frye won 59-7.
At 7:30 p.m Friday, the Fort, No. 8 in Region 21 with an 8-2 overall record, is scheduled to play host Lucasville Valley, No. 1 with a 10-0 mark.
It's deja vu all over again with one of the only differences being that last year Fort Frye faced unbeaten Kirtland in the first round on a Saturday night in northeast Ohio, and suffered a 49-7 setback.
The Cadets, of course, are hoping for a different outcome this time.
One thing for certain, underdog Fort Frye knows it has its work cut out for itself.
"We need to have a solid week of practice, because Valley obviously is a very good football team," said sixth-year Fort head football coach Eric Huck.
One of those Cadet practices this week is scheduled for Don Drumm Stadium.
"The Valley field is (artificial) turf, and we haven't played on a surface like that this season," Huck said.
Fort Frye capped regular-season play last Friday night with a 59-7 non-conference triumph over Rosecrans (0-10) of Zanesville.
Senior quarterback Chandler Lang led the way, as he has all season long, with 236 rushing yards on 13 carries and four touchdowns. The 2012 All-Ohio honoree also completed nine of 13 passes for 185 yards and one TD.
Derek Layton, Garrett Hall, Brady Carpenter, Luke Yates, and CJ Huck each added a score for the winners, who led 33-0 at the end of one period.
Colten Shuster is another Cadet offensive weapon, who the previous week rushed for 91 yards on 15 carries and four TDs in a 35-7 win at Shenandoah.
Overall against Rosecrans, the Fort amassed 506 total yards (321 rushing, 185 passing).
A lot of credit goes to the line which includes Drew Layton (center), Hall (right guard), Brandon Close (left guard), Tyler Wittekind (right tackle), Levi Baker (left tackle), CJ Huck (tight end), and Derek Layton (tight end). The wide-outs are Terren Huck, Garrett Lochary, and Zach Pritchard, who's also the place-kicker.
"I'm really proud of the way these players have played this season," Eric Huck said. "They're very deserving to be in the playoffs. I'm just glad to see it happen. Everything just fell into place."
Before last season, Fort Frye hadn't competed in the playoffs since 2000 when it hosted and lost to Johnstown Northridge, 20-6, in the opening round. Back then, B.J. Scott was the boss, and he guided the Cadets to a 9-2 record.
Valley is coming off a 41-31 win at Miniford (7-3, 2-3) in a regular-season finale last Friday night. With that victory, the Darren Crabtree-coached Indians clinched their third straight SOC (Southern Ohio Conference) II title outright, and extended their regular-season winning streak to 30.
Remarkably, Valley has won with three different signal callers in as many years.
Currently, 6-2, 165-pound sophomore Bryan Rolfe, the son of offensive coordinator Scott Rolfe (also the school's head boys basketball coach) is the Indians QB, and he's a good one. Against Miniford, he rushed for 70 yards on 12 carries and four touchdowns, and also completed nine of 11 throws for 135 yards and one aerial strike.
On the season, Rolfe has completed 54 of 96 passes for 883 yards and 10 touchdowns. He's only had three throws intercepted.
Rolfe has also gained 200 yards on 36 carries, and scored five TDs.
Helping set up Bryan Rolfe's TD runs was 6-foot, 205-pound senior Nate Arnett, who gained 199 yards on 16 attempts. Arnett is considered a candidate for SOC II Offensive Player of the Year.
This fall, Arnett has rushed for 1,175 yards on 147 carries and 17 TDs.
Alex Loop, 5-10, 190 pounds, has gained 629 yards on 51 attempts, and scored eight TDs.
Brice Jordan, 5-11, 200 pounds, has rushed for 445 yards on 63 attempts and scored three TDs.
"Without looking at the film, we knew they had a couple of good running backs," Eric Huck said, "and that their quarterback could throw the ball."
Rolfe's primary receiving targets have been 6-1, 181-pound senior Ethan Clark-Holbrook, 6-4, 245-pound senior Hayden Dunn, 5-9, 160-pound senior Zach Shope, and Arnett.
Some other Valley players to keep an eye on will be 6-foot, 175-pound senior Dakota Baker, 6-1, 185-pound sophomore Bryce Romanello, and senior twin offensive linemen Caleb (6-4, 250) and Kyle Miller (6-4, 250).