ShareThis Page
News

Neely stars as Frazier tops Serra

| Monday, Sept. 9, 2002

McKEESPORT - Frazier High head football coach Larry Wilson had a big problem heading into Saturday's game against Serra Catholic.

Starting running back Craig Neely was not available because of one-game suspension, levied after he was ejected in the opening game loss to Cornell.

Without a tailback, Wilson called on senior wide receiver Justin Knight to fill the void.

Knight was met the challenge, running 24 times for 149 yards and a touchdown.

The converted wide-out led the visiting Commodores (1-1) to a 14-7 nonconference victory over Serra.

Most impressive was the fact Knight never before played before played running back.

"(Knight) has always been a wide receiver ... ," Wilson said.

The score didn't tell the entire story as Frazier dominated, racking up 300 yards offense while allowing Serra just 85 yards.

In the face of the Commodores' defensive onslaught, the Eagles averaged less than a yard per carry.

Still, Frazier put itself in jeopardy just 40 seconds into the game as Eagles' defensive end Bill Peifer stepped in front of a T.J. Martinak pass and returned the interception 23 yards for a touchdown.

Frazier answered when Martinak connected with wide receivers Steve Erdley and Ryan Keebler to reach Serra's 15 yard line. Knight carried the ball the final 15 yards off right tackle for the touchdown.

On the extra point attempt, Martinak fielded a badly snapped ball, ran to the right, and dove in for two points and an 8-7 lead. "I give (Martinak) credit for shaking off the early mistake to play the strong game that he did." Wilson noted.

Martinak wasn't finished as he plunged in from two yards out with a minute remaining in the half.

Four plays earlier, the senior quarterback scrambled 78 yards for an apparent touchdown. However, it was called back because of a holding penalty.

The extra point attempt failed, giving the Commodores a 14-7 halftime lead.

Frazier needed little else as hard running by Knight and a smothering defense carried the Commodore's to victory.

Serra launched one fourth-quarter threat after a Commodores' player fumbled on a punt return and Eagles linebacker Nick Hatala covered the ball at the Frazier 22 yard line.

Serra's chance to win the game was dashed as quarterback Tim Stash threw an incomplete pass on fourth and three.

Serra failed to reach midfield on its final two drives.

"This is the momentum that we needed going into the Monessen next week," Wilson said. "I don't care if we won 14-7 or we if should have won 50-0 or 60-0. A win is a win and I am so proud of my boys".

Notes: Frazier running back Andy Natale had a 60 yard punt return for an apparent touchdown called back because of offsetting personal foul penalties. It was the Commodores' first road win since 2000. Frazier will open Tri-County South Conference play Friday at home against Monessen.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me