Cadets ‘pick off’ Tigers

BYESVILLE — Fort Frye High enjoyed a pick-fest.

The second-rated Cadets had five interceptions, three in the second quarter alone, en route to an 18-6 triumph over fourth-rated Shadyside High in an OHSAA Division VI, Region 23 championship football game Friday night at Meadowbrook High.

Brian Adkins had two intercepts, including a pick-6 in the second quarter, while Dylan Hart, Caden Fryman, and Brady Schilling each had one.

“We’ve been practicing all year, and it just came together tonight,” said the 6-foot, 192-pound Hart, a sophomore linebacker. “We made stops that were important.”

Added Cadet defensive coordinator Chad Ross, “Our defensive backs were covering people, making plays — making five interceptions.”

Hart had the first Fort interception off Shadyside quarterback Anthony Coggins, the Eastern District Player of the Year, late in the opening period.

“I was just where coach told me to be,” he said. “I had to get back in my flat, and it was just there.”

Early in the second quarter, the Cadets capitalized on that Tiger turnover when Evan Schob raced 44 yards to paydirt. After a successful two-point conversion run by Tyler Fisher, FFHS led 8-0.

Adkins, a 5-10, 163-pound sophomore cornerback, had the next two picks off Coggins, and on the second one, he returned it 44 yards down the right sideline to the house.

“I was just trusting my drops and getting back,” said Adkins of the picks. “And when the ball went up into the air, I went and got it.”

Adkins, who was awarded the “money belt” after the game, paused.

“Coach (Kevin) Welsh, he coaches us great, doing drops every day,” he continued. “I just got in front of the wide receiver and got it.”

Added Ross, “The interception was a game-changer at that time. The touchdown run was a big one.”

Fort stretched its lead to 16-0 when Fisher passed to Schilling for the two-point conversion.

Just before the half, Shadyside was on the march, and got to the Cadet 10-yard line. Once again, Coggins tried his luck in the air, and this time Fryman came up with the pass to extinguish the Tigers’ scoring threat.

Schilling had Fort’s fifth pick of the contest in the fourth quarter off a halfback option pass by Shadyside’s Jacob Visnic.

“We needed every one of them (interceptions), too,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck, smiling. “We thought we had to do a lot on offense to match their high-powered offense. But our defense stepped up and played great.

“Coach Welsh and all the coaches do a great job with the defense. It was a great team effort, on defense, especially. I’m really proud of these guys.”

Ross gave a lot of credit to those Fort guys — Isiah Jones, Braden Medley, Draeden Turner, Thomas Lenhart, and Nathan Brothers — in the trenches on the five picks.

“Our defensive front had a relentless pursuit to the ball,” Ross said. “They were putting a lot of pressure on the quarterback and that was key to the interceptions.

“Our front four is pretty aggressive, fast and athletic. I give our kids all the credit in the world. They really got after it tonight.”

Ron Johnston is a Marietta Times sports writer, and can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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