New and improved Frazier ready for playoffs
For the want of a better effort in one game, Frazier would be standing out as champions of the Tri-County South Conference today.
Instead, the Commodores will go into the WPIAL Class A playoffs as the fourth-place team from the conference.
Frazier (7-2, 6-2) put a wrap on the regular season with another impressive performance, pounding Mapletown, 43-0, at Perryopolis.
The win was the fourth in a row for Frazier, the only team in the conference to knock off champion Beth-Center.
Still, it was the team's last loss that haunts Frazier coach Mike Steeber.
“Seven points,” Steeber said in reference to a 20-13 loss to Jefferson-Morgan earlier in the season. “That's what has kept us from being the conference champions. The coaches know it and the players know it and we've thought about it a lot. But we have moved past that and we are ready to take whatever is dealt to us (by the WPIAL) and go try and win a playoff game.”Since that loss to J-M, Frazier has reeled off four wins by a combined score of 128-41, including an impressive 21-14 win at Beth-Center.
“The difference is they are playing with confidence now,” Steeber said of his troops. “I think it shows. We're a much more confident and focused team now than we were back then. We have emotion when needed, poise when needed and we've learned how to get off the field on third down on defense and complete drives on offense.”
The Commodores did all of that against the Maples (3-6, 2-6), rolling up a 30-0 lead in the first half, thanks to three second quarter touchdowns.
The passing combination of Charlie Manack to Jaime Fell led the way as Manack hit on 13 of 19 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half.
Fell, playing his final home game at Frazier, caught six passes for 106 yards, including a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter.
Leading 8-0 in the second quarter, the Commodores exploded as Zach Mastowski raced in from 23 yards out to make it 16-0, capping a nine-play, 81-yard drive.
The hosts then blew the game open with two touchdowns in the final 53 seconds of the half.
First, Manack hit Blake Herron with a 23-yard scoring strike to make it 24-0 with 53 seconds left.
Then, after the Commodores recovered a short kickoff, Manack hit Hunter Patterson with a 30-yard pass to the Maples 10 open a play in which Patterson laid out to make the catch. two plays later, Manack hit mastowski from four yards out to make it 30-0.
Frazier struck quickly to open the second half as John VanDivner scored from four yards on a TD set up by a 53-yard run by Chaise Bertocci. The score came 1:05 into the second half.
On Mapletown's first play after the kickoff, Adam Hein fumbled and Bertocci scooped up the ball and ran 30 yards for a score to make it 43-0 with 10:15 left in the third quarter.
“I'm really happy the way we are playing now,” Steeber said. “We have a lot of different guys who are contributing. We're playing our best football going into the playoffs.”
When asked who he thinks his team will draw in the playoffs, Steeber smiled knowing the T-C South's reputation for being a weak conference.
“Whoever we get, we will deal with and go from there,” he said. “We're excited to get the playoffs started.”
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.