Regardless of the sport, many athletes ask about their statistics after a game.
Samuel Fels High School senior Jylil Reeder isn’t one of them.
“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I did,” Reeder said. “The only thing that matters is what my team did.”
And so, after visiting Fels dropped a 41-24 decision to Frankford on Friday afternoon, Reeder wasn’t interested in talking about his 131 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns on only 12 touches.
His main concern was recognizing that, even though the Panthers (2-6 overall, 2-3 division) lost to the favored Pioneers (5-3, 5-0), they still qualified for the Public League Gold Division playoffs. They’ll visit Southern Friday at 6:30 p.m, while Frankford gets a first-round bye.
“That was our goal from the beginning of the season,” Reeder said. “We wanted to make the playoffs. Once you get in the playoffs, anything can happen.”
It is quite conceivable that Fels could meet Frankford in the postseason. The Panthers are already scheduled to play the Pioneers on Thanksgiving Day, but that wouldn’t have nearly the impact of a playoff game.
Should they take on the defending division champion Pioneers in a playoff game, Reeder thinks Fels will be more prepared and more determined to pave a different fate.
“They’re a good team,” he said. “They play hard and win a lot. But I think we’re a good team, too. If we eliminate our stupid mistakes, we can beat anybody.”
Against Frankford, Fels kept its foe off the scoreboard until senior Quinton Ellis busted loose for a 26-yard touchdown run with 9:51 to go in the second quarter. Fels responded by moving all the way to the Frankford 1-yard line, but a false start penalty moved the ball to the 6.
The next play significantly helped determine the outcome, as sophomore quarterback Aasim Campbell’s pass into the end zone was intercepted by junior Devontae Lee. An incredible 102-yard return later, Frankford led 13-0.
“It was a big play,” said Fels coach Bill Harrigan. “It’s hard to bounce back from something like that. We didn’t give up or anything, but we continued to make mistakes that were costly.
“Dropped passes. Turnovers. Penalties. They are hard to overcome. It’s baffling. We’re better than what we showed, so it’s frustrating.”
“We beat ourselves,” he said. “I’m not saying Frankford didn’t deserve to win, because they made plays. I’m just saying that if we don’t turn the ball over three times and don’t take stupid penalties, I think the result is a lot different.”
Down 13-0, Fels recovered quickly. On its next possession, Campbell found Reeder for a highlight-reel 44-yard touchdown connection. Reeder leaped to snare the pass at the 15 and outran his defender to the end zone. At two-point conversion pass from Campbell to junior Kordell Robinson cut the deficit to 13-8.
“We needed to stop them right there,” Campbell said. “But we didn’t. It’s annoying.”
Indeed, Frankford drove 80 yards in nine plays before senior Marquise Poston tossed a 14-yard scoring strike to senior Rene Herrera. The Pioneers increased their lead to 28-8 midway through the fourth quarter on a 19-yard touchdown run by Ellis.
That set the stage for a wild fourth quarter — four possessions, four scores. But trading two-apiece touchdowns was not what Fels needed.
“We needed to make some stops,” Harrigan said. “I’m sure there is some fatigue on both sides of the ball at that point.”
Frankford coach Will Doggett was not pleased with his players’ first-quarter approach. He surmised that the Pioneers, who entered the contest riding a four-game winning streak after losing their first three, took Fels lightly — this despite Frankford being without the services of leading rusher and scorer Damion Samuels (sprained ankle).
Doggett praised Fels for its athleticism, particularly Reeder and junior Wesley White, who rushed for 95 yards on 13 carries. The opposing coach’s compliment did little to assuage Reeder’s disappointment.
“Like I said, the only thing that matters is winning the game,” Reeder said. “And we didn’t do that.” ••