Frazier 81, Geibel 0 ... in the first half
On a night when the WPIAL ushered in another high school football season, Frazier's Mike Steeber and Geibel Catholic's Pete Nace were faced with a difficult halftime decision.
The head coaches mutually agreed to cut the second half short, deciding it was best to pull the plug early on a game that quickly got out of hand.
Taking advantage of an overmatched Geibel squad which numbered just 16 players, a third of which were freshmen, Frazier jumped out to a 47-0 first-quarter lead and cruised to a abbreviated 81-0 Tri-County South victory.
The teams played one-minute third and fourth quarters, and with the clock running, Frazier's received the second-half kickoff and backup quarterback Chris Pierce took three snaps and kneeled each time to end the game.
“It was one of the most awkward games I've ever been a part of,” Steeber said. “Neither of us wanted to be in this position.”
Nonetheless, it was an easy win for Frazier, and a disheartening loss for Geibel, whose football program has historically struggled with low numbers.
Last season, Geibel was forced to forfeit its first two contests because it didn't have the required number of players to field a team.
One of those forfeits went to Frazier, but it wound up costing the Commodores as they were untested before a game with Carmichaels the following week, and were then soundly defeated by the Mikes
“It was much better for both programs to play tonight,” Steeber said. “They (Geibel) want to keep their program going, and the players work hard all summer long for the season opener.”
Frazier's offense ran just one play from scrimmage over the game's first 5:03, but the Commodores still managed to score 27 points.
Chaise Bertocci opened the scoring with a 20-yard run, defensive lineman Daniel Leonard registered two safeties and Tim Carson and Ethan Weiser scored on free kicks before starting quarterback Charlie Manack attempted his first pass.
Manack then tossed three touchdown passes to three different receivers, the last coming with 15 seconds remaining in the opening quarter.
Even plays that started out badly turned out good for Frazier, as Commodores placekicker Joshua Cox twice turned errant snaps on extra-point attempts into two successful two-point conversion passes.
Most of Frazier's starters played little over a quarter, and by the time the final whistle blew, Steeber managed to empty his bench.
Nace had nothing but praise for his team.
“I told them after the game how proud I was of them for not giving up,” Nace said. “We had a few kids with some injuries, and I wanted to make sure we stayed relatively healthy. None of these boys like this. They hate it and I hate it, but it's the situation we're in.
“But I couldn't be more proud of our guys, even if we had won the game.”
Frazier's Michael Luce, Nate Zurich and Hunter Patterson each had a scoring reception, and Alvin Ross scored three times in the second quarter.
Ross finished with three carries for 115 yards. One of those carries wound up being an 85-yard touchdown, and Ross also returned an interception 29 yards for a score.
Dave Stofcheck is a free lance writer.