BY NICK CORN
If you are a high school football player, this is what you dream of…Homecoming. Muddy. Undefeated league rival is coming to town. The Girard Trojans were 23 seconds of solid football away from handing the Raiders their first loss of the 2014 season. The Trojans were searching for their second. The first quarter was all about adjusting to the muddy field conditions, and each team struggled. Girard went three and out on their first drive after they recovered their own fumble on third down, and Frontenac’s first drive saw a negative 15 yard play on a bad snap in shotgun. After another three and out from the Trojans, Frontenac fumbled a snap exchanged and Girard took over on the Raider’s 40 yardline. After a 10 play, five minute and twenty-seven second drive, Girard scored first on a one-yard run by senior tailback Kord Curran. Curran was a workhorse on the drive, carrying the ball eight times for 40 yards. Curran carried the ball 17 times in the first half, and finished the game with 25 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown. . . On their next drive, Frontenac struggled down to the Trojan 24, but an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty put Frontenac at an unmanageable fourth and 23 and they were forced to punt. Frontenac was back in Trojan territory after a Girard three and out, but Tyler Green came up with a huge sack on fourth down to stop another Raider drive. Neither team would have another chance to score in the half.
Frontenac only gained 42 yards of offense in the first half; on the second play of the third quarter, the Raiders gained 63 on a touchdown run by Cadin Bolinger. A converted two-point conversion gave Frontenac an 8-7 lead early in the third. There was 11 seconds of the before mentioned 23. The Trojans responded with a near seven-minute drive, but were stopped on fourth and short and gave the ball back to Frontenac at the Raider 37. Girard would then come up with a fourth-down stop of their own to get the ball back at their own 35 yardline. Dylan Page entered the game and gained 22 yards on four carries to help the Trojans into Frontenac territory. On first and ten, Eric Wilson kept the ball on an option, probably fooling the cameraman along with the Frontenac defense, and took it 32 yards to the Raider seven yardline. Two plays later Wilson ran it in from four yards out to give Girard a 13-8 lead with 7:03 remaining in the game.
After each team punted, Frontenac started their possession with 3:03 minutes left in the game. Here’s where the missing 12 seconds of the 23 come back into play. On first down, Austin Seward connected with John Barrows on a screen that went for 57 yards and took a 16-13 lead. Two incomplete passes and a sack on fourth down would end Girard’s hopes of a victory. The last four games between these two teams have been decided by a combined 10 points. In 2011, Frontenac won 7-6; 2012, Girard won 7-6; 2013, Frontenac won 8-3; and this year Frontenac earned the 16-13 win.
With a 1-5 record, Girard will start districts next week with the 1-5 Anderson County. Frontenac will face the winless Parsons.