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Fort Frye, Warren match up in pivotal week two challenge

Photo by Jordan Holland Warren’s Evan Gandee (2) carries the ball during a high school football game against Marietta last week in Vincent.

VINCENT — Friday’s matchup between Fort Frye and Warren will pit two talented team against one another.

The Cadets have enjoyed eight straight winning seasons and have established themselves as one of top Division VI programs in the state, whereas the Warriors overcame years of losing before finally enjoying a breakout 2019 season. Now, both teams are 1-0 and have their sights set on a successful 2020 campaign, and this week two showdown should be a good challenge for both.

“They know this game is going to be quite a test for us,” Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck said of his players. “Warren is a good football team. They’re big and have athletes all over the field. Our guys know it’s going to be a tough game.”

Fort Frye defeated rival Waterford 22-6 last week, while Warren won its rivalry game with Marietta 28-6. Warren head coach Matt Kimes is excited for the opportunity to play a team like Fort Frye.

“It’s a tremendous challenge,” he said. “They’re used to winning. They’ve won 27 straight regular season games. Their kids execute their system really well. There will be no surprises, it’s just whether or not we can stop it.”

Photo by Mike Morrison Fort Frye’s Maeson Long (4) carries the ball during a high school football game against Waterford last week in Beverly.

The Cadets got a big game from quarterback Ian Ellis in week one. The junior quarterback completed 10 of 14 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown. Maeson Long was a playmaker, catching four balls for 82 yards and also rushing seven times for 62 yards and a TD. Brian Adkins, Collin Welsh and Owen Brown also will get carries.

“We played hard,” Huck said. “There were a lot of mistakes, penalties, dropped passes. We couldn’t get off the field when we needed to sometimes. I really liked how we kept fighting in the second half.”

Warren will be led by quarterback Kurt Taylor, receiver Evan Gandee and running back Brayden Gerber offensively. Taylor and Gandee were a dynamic duo in 2019, but only hooked up five times for 55 yards in week one. Taylor completed 9 of 19 attempts for 76 yards with two interceptions.

“We’ve been a little out of sync in our passing game,” Kimes said. “We’ve still got to be able to execute and make plays.”

Huck is anxious to see how his defense holds up against Warren’s passing attack.

“They throw the ball really well,” he said. “It will be a test for our secondary. It’s something we don’t see a lot of, especially in the regular season.”

Another key will be how Warren’s defense handles Fort Frye’s ground game. Warren shut down Marietta’s rushing attack last week.

“We’ve got to be able to run the ball and stop the run,” Kimes said. “We’ve got to be disciplined and make them do some things they aren’t quite as comfortable doing.”

Kimes acknowledged this game is a big opportunity for Warren as a program. “We talked about that,” he said. “Fort Frye has been successful, and this is a chance to put our program on the map around the region and the state. It’s a great opportunity for a statement win.”

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