Fort Frye upends Shenandoah to clinch league title
Nine weeks and eight wins later, the Cadets once again find themselves Champions of the Pioneer Valley Conference for the third straight season.
Friday night the visiting Cadets downed the Shenandoah Zeps 26-8 to notch their seventh consecutive win and their 15th in a row in PVC play.
Tyler Bradford ran for two first half touchdowns while Tyler Fisher and Tate Engle scored third quarter touchdowns as Fort Frye won going away against a very solid Shenandoah squad.
“I’m very proud of these kids. At the beginning of the year we had a lot of people saying after losing 17 seniors that we couldn’t do it again,” said Cadets head coach Eric Huck, who is just one in shy of 75 wins in his ten year coaching career. “We definitely played with a chip on our shoulder all season and I knew they could do it and they came out here and played a great game tonight.”
The Fort Frye defense, which came into the game having allowed just 14 points total in their past five games, got put to the test very early on.
Shenandoah junior quarterback Boone Jones got loose and rambled 65 yards for a touchdown on an outstanding individual effort just over two minutes into the game.
Nick Miller’s two-point conversion gave the Zeps and 8-0 lead.
It took the Cadets just over a minute to answer when Tyler Bradford scored the first of two touchdown in the game on a 18-yard plunge set up by a 45-yard kick-off return from Tyler Fisher.
“Coach (Chad) Ross had been talking all week about how we need to respond because they are a good football team and they were going to make some good plays,” said Huck, whose defense limited Shenandoah to under three yards per play despite the long run by Jones. “It didn’t seem to phase us and we were able to go right down the field and score.”
The Cadet defense forced the Zeps into a three and out and Fort Frye promptly marched 54 yards in nine plays with Bradford scoring on a three- yard run to take a 12-8.
Neither team could make much noise in the second quarter but Fort Frye broke things open quickly in the second half when once again Fisher set things up with a long kick-off return and then raced 35-yards on the first play from scrimmage to increase the lead to 20-8.
Huck felt getting that quick score was big for his Cadets.
“Our guys across the line (Logan) Isner and (Isiah) Jones and (Zach) Schilling and (Tyson) Miller and (Cameron) Camp are one of the best lines I have ever coached and thats why the second half we were able to come out and pound the ball,” said Huck, whose team gained 305 yards on the ground. “That score right off the bat to start the second half was huge.”
Quarterback Tate Engle capped the scoring with a 15- yard run with five minutes to play in the third and the Cadet defense did the rest as the Fort locked up a spot in the playoffs for the third straight season and the fifth time in the past six years.
The Fort Frye defense limited Miller to just 35 yards on 17 carries in the game and came up with no less than 14 tackles for loss in the game.
“Our kids have played great defense all year long,” said Huck. “Tyler Bradford is one of the best linebackers I have coached and along with our line and a great game plan by Coach Ross we were able to shut them down.”
Fisher led the Cadets with 111 yards on 13 carries while Bradford (14-71) and Evan Schob (15-84) had big games as well.
The Cadets will finish regular season play at home next week against another team headed for the postseason in Steubenville Catholic Central.
Jones ended up with 93 yards rushing on 18 carries while completing six-of -16 pass attempts for 36 yards for the Zeps (7-2) who are very much still in the playoff hunt themselves with their annual season finale against Caldwell slated for Friday night at the Noble County Fairgrounds.