Asked what would be of most importance heading into Friday night’s game at Northeast High School, Frankford senior quarterback Marquise Poston responded with a snappy answer to an arguably stupid question.
“A win,” he said.
Pressed to sidestep the obvious, Poston became a bit more analytical.
“We need to get a lead,” he said. “We have to grab the momentum.”
Thanks to Poston (3-for-5, 68 yards, TD) and a host of others, Frankford did indeed get a lead, grabbed the momentum and ultimately prevailed, 27-6.
The victory snapped a rare 0-3 beginning to the season, though Frankford’s opponents weren’t exactly pushovers. In fact, the Pioneers’ third loss, a 42-14 setback the previous week against Archbishop Wood, wasn’t nearly as lopsided as the score might indicate.
Against the five-time defending Catholic League Class AAA Division champions, Frankford scored only two fewer points than the composite total of Wood’s other three victims.
“We kept it decent,” Frankford coach Will Doggett said of Wood. “That’s a really good team, and we didn’t embarrass ourselves.”
When the Pioneers lined up on a gorgeous Friday evening, there was a tangible renewed confidence about them, an air of refreshment.
And that made complete sense.
“We are happy getting back to the Pub,” said Doggett, citing a common refrain among both coaches and players. “We had a tough preseason. But now it’s time to focus on our league.”
If the Pioneers are going to successfully defend last year’s Gold Division championship, they need the same combination of effectiveness that disposed of Northeast — ball control, strong defense and the ability to make a big play.
All of those elements were in full vigor against the Vikings.
“We definitely played a solid game, but we could play much, much better,” Doggett said. “Each week, that’s the goal — play better than the week before.”
Against the winless Vikings (0-4), Frankford jumped to a 7-0 lead on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Poston to Juwan Manning, with kicker Prince Cooper adding the extra point. A 3-yard scoring run by Damion Samuels upped the lead to 13-0 at halftime.
In the third quarter, a 19-yard scoring dash by Samuels and two-point conversion pass from Poston to Rene Herrera preceded a nifty 51-yard touchdown jaunt by Quinton Ellis.
Aided by the running of junior Asa Manley (a career-high 79 yards on 21 carries), the Vikings nixed the shutout bid on John Diaz’s 8-yard touchdown hookup with Natwan Curtis.
That was the only blip against a Frankford defense led by linemen Shareef Miller, Kadar Jones and Javez Baker-Hall.
“We wanted the shutout, but the win was most important,” said Samuels, who also contributed an interception and was one of several Pioneers who shined on both sides of the ball. “We played like we know how to play. We’re happy to get back on track and look forward to the rest of the season.”
Samuels was one of three players with gaudy rushing numbers. In addition to his 64 yards on 11 carries, Ellis added 52 on two runs and Alex Candelario came out of nowhere to accrue 61 yards on eight hauls
Statistically, Frankford has demonstrated a distinct ability to rely on many different runners. That would include Poston, who stunned Wood for 73 yards on nine carries, the only player in three seasons to gash a vaunted Wood defense with so much output on so few opportunities.
“It depends on how we’re lining up,” Doggett said, referring to his wing-T offense. “Hopefully, it reminds all of our kids that they have to step up and perform the way Alex did when they get their shot.”
Next up in two weeks is Furness, followed by the rest of the division foes in George Washington, Central and Fels.
In other words, after a rugged start to the season, everything appears back to normal at Frankford. ••