Prep football: Cadets down Warriors 35-27
BEVERLY – Fort Frye quarterback Chandler Lang passed for two touchdowns and rushed for two more to lead the Cadets to a 35-27 victory over the upset minded Buckeye Trail Warriors Friday night in a Pioneer Valley Conference tussle at Fort Frye High School.
The Cadets scored three touchdowns in a matter of seven minutes in the middle portion of the game to turn a 14-7 deficit into a 28-14 lead and then held off the Warriors for their sixth victory of the season.
“We were able to get a couple of scores there late in the first half and that was huge,” said sixth-year Cadet head coach Eric Huck, “We played well when it counted.”
Trail came into the game as heavy underdogs after losing the week before to the previously winless Shenandoah Zeps, but let the Cadets know from the very beginning that they were in for a battle.
The Warriors won the toss and promptly marched 74 yards in just under three minutes with quarterback Morgan Dougherty scoring on a one-yard run for a 7-0 lead.
Fort Frye answered late in the quarter when Lang connected with Terren Huck on a 12-yard touchdown pass to knot the score at 7-7 with 2:21 to play in the first.
Buckeye Trail jumped back in front early in the second quarter when after converting a fake punt into a first down, Dougherty scrambled 21-yards to pay dirt for a 14-7 lead.
Dougherty, who is still in the recovery stages from a shoulder injury, rushed for over 150 yards in the first half alone for Trail.
The Fort put together their best drive of the game to once again tie the game up as they drove 90 yards in 11 plays with senior Colten Shuster scoring from 1-yard out with just 2:39 to play in the half.
“I thought we played hard and our line blocked really well tonight,’ said Shuster, who rushed for 109 yards on 14 carries in the game. “We came out kind of slow and we knew they were a good football team. We just had to stay focused.”
The Cadet defense rose to the occasion on the next Trail possession as the Fort forced a three and out and a 25-yard punt return by Lang gave them great field position at the Warrior 28- yard line with a little bit more than a minute to play in the half.
A penalty against Buckeye Trail combined with a run by Lang and a pass to Derek Layton moved the ball to the 15-yard line where after an incomplete pass Lang connected with Zach Prichard for a touchdown with just 24 ticks on the clock to give the Cadets their first lead of the game at 21-14.
The Cadets added to that lead early in the third quarter as they drove 52-yards on eight plays with Lang scoring from three yards out for a 28-14 lead.
Buckeye Trail put together a 14-play, 67 -yard drive to open the final period with Dougherty finding Bobby Sells in the end zone to trim the Cadet lead to seven at 28-21.
The Cadets turned a near disaster into a score on their next possession when after a fumble by Terren Huck was recovered by the home team, Lang busted a 34-yard run followed by a 17-yard touchdown run to make it a two possession game once again at 35-21.
“Our line did a great job down the stretch opening up some big holes and I just had to make the right reads,” said Lang, who rushed for 145 yards in the game on 20 carries. “I was able to make a cut or two and it worked out for us.”
Trail was not done just yet as Dougherty and Tyler Starr connected on a 57-yard pass with Lang making a touchdown saving tackle to move the ball deep into Cadet territory.
Two plays later Dougherty found Sells in the corner of the end zone for a second time to cut the lead to 35-27 with less than three minutes to go.
Buckeye Trail head coach Dale Broomhall hoped his team could come up with a stop on the next Cadet possession but Shuster and Lang picked up a pair of first downs to put the finishing touches on a hard fought conference victory.
“We had our chances, we just didn’t make the most of them,” said Broomhall. “We played really well at the beginning and I felt we kind of lost our intensity there at the end of the first half.”
Dougherty finished the game with a game-high 163 yards rushing on 21 carries while also throwing for 162 yards for Trail who out gained the Cadets 405-to-362 in the game.
Lang’s ability to come through in the clutch on both sides of the ball is something that his head coach has grown accustomed to.
“He’s an exceptional football player,” said Huck of his senior leader. “He’s able to do what he does because of the guys around him as well.”
The Warriors slipped to 2-5 on the season while the Cadets improved to 6-1 with a big PVC battle looming next week at home against the red-hot Caldwell Redskins.