Frazier hopes to equal regular season success of 2011
The 2011 football season was a barrier-breaking campaign for Frazier. The Commodores won six games in the Tri-County South and qualified for the WPIAL Class A playoffs for the first time since 2002.
A 69-25 loss to Sto-Rox in the first round of the playoffs did little to diminish the accomplishment.
“It was a major goal accomplished,” Frazier coach Mike Steeber said. “It was a difficult challenge, and they felt the pride in that accomplishment. The kids will be disappointed if they don't make it back this year. They are hungry for more.”
The Commodores lost key pieces from that team to graduation, but Frazier has plenty of players that remember the feeling of playing in a meaningful game in Week 10 of the high school season.
“It was a great feeling,” junior running back Zachary Mastowski said. “It felt like a college atmosphere. It was a great experience and it makes us want to win a playoff game this year.”
According to Mastowski, the feeling of making the playoffs after such a long drought for the program is never far from the minds of the players. Building on that success is also a regular topic of discussion in the Frazier locker room.
“We talk about it every day,” Mastowski said. “It's our No. 1 goal.”
Steeber and this year's Frazier team understand that the past is the past and making the playoffs last year doesn't guarantee anything this season. However, the team can't help but draw upon last year's breakthrough season.
“It was a special thing, and we played a lot of important games,” Steeber said. “And a lot of the kids we have left from that team played important roles.”
Several of the players that had key roles on last year's team can again be found on the offensive line.
“That's a core group,” Steeber said.
Senior Justin Kulwicki was a member of last year's offensive line that helped the Commodores make the playoffs. He put into perspective what a trip to the playoffs means for a program that has struggled to get there for the better part of a decade.
“What matters most is that as a program we've been getting better and better each year,” Kulwicki said. “And we only want to go further and do better than last year.”
There are 16 players on Frazier's roster this year that were on last year's team as the Commodores began their quest for a long overdue playoff appearance. Steeber is hoping they all remember the sacrifices it took to reach their goal in 2011 as the team looks forward to 2012.
“We have to remember what it felt like to be there and what it took to get there,” Steeber said. “We have to remember the pain of losing and know what it will take to go further.”
Jason Black is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-626-3534.