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Commodores ground Rockets

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By Jamie Rankin
Saturday, Sept. 28, 2002

PERRYOPOLIS - Although football is a team sport, there were times during Frazier's game against Jefferson-Morgan on Friday when it seemed as though T.J. Martinak was the only player on the field. The Commodores' quarterback threw three touchdown passes and was also the team's leading rusher as Frazier downed the Rockets 21-7 in Tri-County South action.

"These kids have been waiting for this for two years," Frazier head coach Larry Wilson Jr. said, citing last season's 47-0 loss to Jefferson-Morgan as one motivating factor. "I'm really proud of my kids. They played well, and they deserve it."

After the first drive of the contest, it looked as though Jefferson-Morgan would be in the driver's seat again this season. The Rockets won the toss, and Jeff Weaver returned the Commodores' opening kickoff 61 yards to set up a first down on Frazier's 18-yard line. Jefferson-Morgan stayed on the ground, taking just five more plays to cross the goal line. Eric Swinchock scored from five yards out, and Eric Cox's extra point quickly made it 7-0.

But Frazier bounced back just as quickly, as Justin Knight's 28-yard scamper set up Martinak's first touchdown, a 15-yard toss to Steve Erdley. Craig Neely put the extra point through the uprights for a 7-7 tie.

After forcing the Rockets to punt, the Commodores combined some good runs with a couple of bullets from Martinak to make their way to the endzone again. Knight hauled in a 23-yarder from Martinak to cap Frazier's second drive of the game, and Neely made it 14-7.

Martinak showed off his defensive skill, leaping to intercept Matt Ferencak's pass on the first play of the Rockets' possession, but Jefferson-Morgan's defense was able to step up this time, and the score held until halftime.

With the field already soggy by kickoff and a steady rain falling throughout most of the first half, few spectators expected Martinak to come out throwing. But Jefferson-Morgan head coach Jan Haiden said he didn't expect anything else.

"That's what they've been doing all year. They didn't do anything different," he said.

Wilson said Frazier had planned to launch an aerial assault despite the weather.

"That was our game plan," he said. "We knew we'd have to throw a little bit. We knew it was going to be rainy."

The rain cleared up in the second half, and the Commodores took advantage of the fair skies to put another quick touchdown on the board. Frazier stuck to its ground game until the final play of the opening drive, when Martinak went back for a 16-yard pass to Riley Tidholm. Neely capped the scoring with another extra point.

Jefferson-Morgan couldn't get closer than the Commodores' 38-yard line the rest of the way, and Frazier got back in the playoff hunt with a win.

The Commodores improved their record to 1-2 in the conference and 2-3 overall. The Rockets dropped to the same conference mark, with a 1-4 record overall.

"You've got to take them one at a time, and that was our thing," Wilson said. "To be 2-3 right now, we played some good teams. That says a lot about my kids and my coaches."

Frazier will host Geibel next week.

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