Freeport senior wants better all-around year
Freeport senior Darius Frantz played most of last football season with his right hand and upper arm wrapped soundly in a well-padded cast.
Frantz felt confined at times and wasn't able to contribute as a pass catcher at tight end.
However, few opponents could contain Frantz, injury and all, on defense.
From his defensive end position, he registered a team-high 12 sacks and earned first-team all-conference honors.
With his broken hand healed, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Frantz is looking forward to showing opponents and college scouts his full potential on both sides of the ball this season.
"I'll be playing a little tight end," Frantz said. "Hopefully, I'll help out on offense and be a threat on both sides of the ball. On defense, I'll play more of an outside linebacker position and drop into coverage at times."
Frantz returns to help lead a Freeport team that has high expectations after going 6-4 and making the WPIAL Class AA playoffs.
Freeport opens the regular season at Kittanning at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 4.
The Yellowjackets appear loaded at the skill positions. As Freeport coach John Gaillot sees it, the opportunity to use Frantz on offense will give opponents yet another playmaker to worry about.
"I expect big things from Darius," Gaillot said. "He's very fast, he's 6-4, and the kid can catch. That's huge. It gives us another weapon."
Gaillot said he believes Frantz could attract Division I attention by the end of the season. With two good hands, it will be interesting to see the kind of numbers Frantz can produce.
"He has a passion to succeed," Gaillot said. "I've never seen him take a play off."
Frantz's broken paw was the result of a mishap off the football field. His sister accidentally slammed a car door on his hand — a mistake he has long since forgiven and even laughs about now.
Frantz wore a cast from the third through eighth game. While wearing the covering, Frantz started on the left side of the defensive line so he could have a better chance to reach out with his left arm and snag opponents trying to break to the outside.
Still, the injury hampered his ability.
"I'd have to grip on somebody only with the left hand," Frantz said. "I couldn't grab with the right. Hopefully, I'll do better now and get more sacks."
Gaillot said it was impossible to keep Frantz off the field after the injury.
"I told him, we'll get somebody else to fill in," Gaillot said. "He said, "Coach, don't worry. I can get a cast.' I think he missed one practice. He played the rest of the way and finished the season without the cast."