Frazier wins fourth in a row
For the want of a better effort in one game, Frazier would be champions of the Tri-County South Conference.
Instead, the Commodores will go into the WPIAL Class A playoffs as a fourth-place team.
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 most recent loss that haunts Frazier coach Mike Steeber.
“Seven points,” Steeber said in reference to a 20-13 loss to Jefferson-Morgan earlier this 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 and go try and win a playoff game.”
Since the loss to Jefferson-Morgan, the Commodores have 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 players. “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 first-half lead.
The passing combination of Charlie Manack to Jaime Fell led the way, as Manack completed 13 of 19 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half.
Fell, playing his final home game, caught six passes for 106 yards, including a 15-yard TD.
Leading 8-0 in the second quarter, the Commodores got a 23-yard touchdown run from Zach Mastowski to cap a nine-play, 81-yard drive.
The hosts blew open the game 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.
Then, after the Commodores recovered a short kickoff, Manack hit Hunter Patterson with a 30-yard pass to the Maples 10. Two plays later, Manack found Mastowski from 4 yards out to make it 30-0.
Frazier struck 1:05 into the second half, as John VanDivner scored from 4 yards. Chaise Bertocci's 53-yard run set up the touchdown.
Mapletown's Adam Hein fumbled on the next play from scrimmage and Bertocci scooped up the ball and ran 30 yards for a 43-0 lead 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 Tri-County South's reputation for being a weak conference.
“Whoever we get, we will deal with and go from there,” he said.
Jeff Oliver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.