Public League champs 0-2 after ugly Pennsbury loss

Frank­ford head coach Will Dog­gett hopes to avoid an 0-3 start to the sea­son this week­end against Arch­bish­op Wood.

Some­times it’s dif­fi­cult to find a sil­ver lin­ing in de­feat.

When Frank­ford walked off its home field after los­ing 43-12 to Penns­bury on a beau­ti­ful Sat­urday af­ter­noon, most of the Pi­on­eers wer­en’t ex­actly in the mood to have a deep con­ver­sa­tion.

“I’d like to help you out,” said a Frank­ford seni­or, who re­ques­ted an­onym­ity, “but you’d prob­ably have to use the word ‘bleep’ about a hun­dred times. We bleeped.”

Per­haps some com­ment­ary from the op­pos­i­tion can provide a little bit of com­fort.

Penns­bury’s coach­ing staff had seen the film of Frank­ford’s first game of the sea­son, a 27-14 loss to an­oth­er for­mid­able sub­urb­an op­pon­ent in Down­ing­town East.

They were im­pressed.

“We didn’t take this game lightly,” said Penns­bury coach Ga­len Snyder. “They have a dan­ger­ous team. They have guys that can get down the field. They hurt (Down­ing­town East) with some things. We were aware that we had our work cut out for us.”

Penns­bury (1-1 over­all) had two reas­ons to care­fully cri­tique the afore­men­tioned film; not only were the Fal­cons tak­ing on Frank­ford (0-2), they were also sched­uled to face Down­ing­town East this com­ing week­end.

While Frank­ford coach Will Dog­gett cer­tainly ap­pre­ci­ates the kind words, he found very few of his own when asked to as­sess his team’s per­form­ance.

“It was one of the worst per­form­ances I can re­mem­ber,” he said. “We stunk up the place on of­fense and de­fense. We star­ted the first quarter by play­ing tough but then we got soft. It was very dis­ap­point­ing.”

The Pi­on­eers had no an­swer for Penns­bury ju­ni­or tail­back Charles Snor­weah. In the first half, he car­ried the ball nine times. The res­ult was ugly – 197 yards and three touch­downs from 49, 43 and 8 yards, re­spect­ively.

But the third quarter was an en­tirely dif­fer­ent story. On the second-half kick­off, the Pi­on­eers climbed to with­in 21-6 when Quin­ton El­lis rode through sev­er­al ex­cel­lent blocks for an 85-yard touch­down re­turn. By the end of the quarter, the Pi­on­eers had con­ver­ted a forced fumble in­side the Penns­bury 10-yard line in­to a 6-yard scor­ing run by Dami­on Samuels to cut their de­fi­cit to a man­age­able 21-12.

Sud­denly, Frank­ford had life.

But the fourth quarter was a night­mare for the Pi­on­eers. Per­haps be­cause fa­tigue settled in thanks to Penns­bury’s depth on both sides of the line, the Pi­on­eers ap­peared spent. Keep­ing nearly every single play on the ground, an in­creas­ingly phys­ic­al Penns­bury team scored 22 un­answered points via three more TD hauls, two ex­tra-point kicks and a two-point con­ver­sion run.

Un­able to solve Frank­ford’s sec­ond­ary through the air to the tune of one com­ple­tion in sev­en at­tempts for 13 yards, Penns­bury ac­cu­mu­lated 377 yards rush­ing to Frank­ford’s 116. While be­ing doubled in first downs 20 to 10, the Pi­on­eers com­pleted 3 of 22 passes for 32 yards and two in­ter­cep­tions.

“We played well in the third quarter, but that was the only time we did any­thing pos­it­ive,” Dog­gett said.

In the Pi­on­eers’ loss to East, Mar­quise Po­ston fin­ished 11-28 for 154 yards through the air. While those num­bers aren’t par­tic­u­larly im­press­ive, the fact that he hit five dif­fer­ent re­ceiv­ers – Juwan Man­ning, Rene Her­rera, Rob Sim­mons, Samuels and El­lis – along with adding 43 yards and a touch­down run on 12 car­ries, led Penns­bury’s coach­ing staff to pay close at­ten­tion to dis­rupt­ing Frank­ford’s aer­i­al as­sault.

Against Penns­bury, Po­ston was able to con­nect with only Man­ning (two for 16 yards) and Her­rera (1 for 15).

The play­er of the game for Frank­ford was Samuels. Even though Penns­bury had its col­lect­ive eyes glued to the seni­or back, he still gained 87 yards on 12 car­ries.  

But that did little to re­duce the dis­ap­point­ment of Frank­ford’s play­ers and coaches.

“I thought we had a good week of prac­tice, but we came out and laid an egg,” Dog­gett said. “Our play­ers know they played poorly, as both a team and in­di­vidu­ally.”

The road won’t get any easi­er from here, as up next is de­fend­ing Cath­ol­ic League Class AAA cham­pi­on Arch­bish­op Wood.

“They’re a very, very good foot­ball team,” Dog­gett said. “They have a lot of depth. We will have our work cut out for us.” ••

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