Football: Frontier finding winning formula

  • Franklin Tech running back Bailey Young (24) brings down Frontier’s Donovan Hoffman in the second quarter Friday night in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier quarterback Garrett DeForest runs past Franklin Tech defender Brooks Medeiros (52) to score a touchdown in the third quarter Friday night in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier quarterback Garrett DeForest looks for an open receiver under pressure from Franklin Tech’s Colby Mailloux in the second quarter Friday night in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Ian McClure (25) sweeps to the outside on a run against Frontier in the third quarter Friday night in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Bailey Young reels in a pass against Frontier in the third quarter Friday night in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Franklin Tech’s Hunter Wozniak throws downfield against Frontier in the third quarter Friday night in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

  • Frontier’s Donovan Hoffman, right, wraps up Franklin Tech running back Bailey Young in the second quarter Friday night in South Deerfield. STAFF PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2019 11:14:19 PM
Modified: 10/18/2019 11:14:04 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Grinding out long touchdown drives has been a theme for the Frontier Regional School football team this fall. 

The Red Hawks are willing to run the ball and use their big offensive line to wear down opponents, and they did just that Friday against Franklin Tech, scoring two second-half touchdowns to come out with a 20-8 Intercounty North victory. 

“Our team is really good,” Frontier running back Ito McMillan said. “We’re a lot better than we seem. We get better and better each week. I’m confident with our team and our skill level. It’s been a rough couple weeks, a little too close for our liking, but I’m confident we can turn it around in the playoffs.”

Holding a 14-8 lead with 1:55 to go in the third quarter, the Red Hawks (5-1, 5-0) went on a 14 play, 61-yard drive that took over five minutes off the clock, capped off by an Alec Kirkendall five-yard run on fourth down to make it a two-score game, though quarterback Garrett DeForest was unable to convert the two-point conversion. 

The drive didn’t have a play that went for more than 10 yards, as the Red Hawks methodically got the ball down the field though small runs that eventually tired the Eagle defense. 

“Just as coach says, he’ll take three yards three times, then on fourth down we get another three,” McMillan said. “It’s a slow process but we control possession. It works out.”

It was an ugly start for the Frontier offense, who had trouble with the center-quarterback snap exchange early, continuing to put the ball on the ground and having to stay behind the chains. 

After stopping Franklin Tech (2-4, 2-2) at its 40 on fourth down, the Red Hawks drove down thanks to a 27-yard run by McMillan and a 24-yard pass from DeForest to Kenny Moulton. McMillan finished the drive powering it home from five yards out and Josh Semaski ran in the conversion. 

The Eagles answered on the following possession with a long drive of their own, led by a series of runs by Bailey Young. Young got into the end zone from a yard out with 9:48 to go in the second half and ran in the conversion to tie the game up.  

“The kids did everything we asked them to tonight,” Franklin Tech coach Joe Gamache said. “They played with a lot of energy, they played with a lot of enthusiasm, we played physical and attacked. I’m proud of our effort tonight. That’s a really good football team and we knew that coming in. We knew we had to play our best game and hope for a couple mistakes on their side. They made mistakes but we couldn’t capitalize.” 

Both defenses didn’t budge following the two scores, going to the half deadlocked at 8-8 with Franklin Tech getting the second-half kickoff. 

The Eagles had an opportunity to come out of the halftime break with a scoring drive to take control of the game, but instead Frontier ran an onside kick to open the half, easily recovered in the air. 

Taking over at midfield, McMillan broke off a pair of long runs to set the Red Hawks up inside the five, where DeForest ran it in for Frontier’s second score. 

“We drew up a game plan specific to their offense,” Gamache said. “We gave up a couple of big plays and they had a couple short fields. The kids battled. They gave us everything they had tonight.”

The game makes three weeks in a row Frontier had to grind out a victory, with coach Don Gordon hoping to see better execution from his offense going forward. 

“We have some things to figure out offensively,” Gordon said. “We’re just not getting it done.”  

The Red Hawks have a week to get their offense going before they take on Chicopee at home, while Franklin Tech takes on Mahar in Turners. 


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