Frankford ‘happy getting back to the Pub’

After a rough, uncharacteristic 0-3 start, the Pioneers got back to business in steamrolling Northeast last Friday.

  • Showing how its done: Frankford senior two-way lineman Kadar Jones (No. 78) celebrates triumphantly after one of many big tackles Friday night against Northeast. The Pioneer defense smothered the Vikings, allowing just six points. BILL ACHUFF / FOR THE TIMES

  • Away we go: RB Damion Samuels (No. 24) and QB Marquise Poston (No. 18) line up on offense for the Pioneers. BILL ACHUFF / FOR THE TIMES

  • Away we go: Quinton Ellis (above) gained 108 yards from scrimmage. BILL ACHUFF / FOR THE TIMES

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. ••

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