FROSTBURG — The Frankfort Falcons have a pretty good memory, and Friday night they made a mess out of Mountain Ridge’s Homecoming.
Brady Watson returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, Gage Shaffer threw for four touchdowns, and the defense gave up next to nothing for three quarters in a 56-8 rout that kept the Falcons unbeaten after five games.
“Our kids were excited about playing tonight,’’ said Frankfort coach Kevin Whiteman. “Mountain Ridge put it to us the last two years and we were looking for some revenge. We beat a very young, inexperienced Mountain Ridge team. But I’m proud of the way our kids played and the effort they gave.”
Frankfort took the lead just 13 seconds into the game when Watson fielded the opening kickoff at his 25 and raced 75 yards for the touchdown. The score doubled to 14-0 just a minute later when Shaffer dumped a short pass to Chris Faidley, who raced 36 yards untouched up the sideline for the touchdown. The two-play, 19-second drive was set up by a Tyler Crock fumble recovery.
A 37-yard pass to Fridley on a third-and-9 late in the quarter got the Falcons to the Mountain Ridge 8. Two plays and a penalty later, Damian Morgan scored on a nine-yard run to give Frankfort a 21-0 lead after the first quarter.
The three-touchdown lead proved to be more than enough offense for the Falcons, who turned things into a runaway by scoring on all four second-quarter possessions.
Shaffer, who finished 8 for 11 for 228 yards, all in the first half, hit Cole Smith behind the Mountain Ridge secondary for a 42-yard touchdown strike at the 9-minute mark, then hit Smith in the flat a few minutes later and the speedy junior ran 27 yards for a touchdown that made it 35-0. After a 5-yard TD run by Morgan made it 42-0, Shaffer hit Thane Cutter on a quick slant that covered 56 yards for another score, with nine seconds left in the half, that made it 49-0.
“Gage is only a sophomore and he is doing a real good job hitting his receivers,’’ said Whiteman. “He throws a really good ball. I’m proud of his progress and I think he’s going to be a real good quarterback by the time he’s a senior.”
One of the big keys to Frankfort’s offensive success and 5-0 record has been the play of linemen Paul McKenzie, Dustin Richards, Trent Hamilton, Chris Bittner and Jimmy Howard, who have protected Shaffer well while also opening up the holes for a strong running attack.
“I’ve got to give a lot of credit the the offensive line,’’ said Whiteman. “Those guys are very unselfish and don’t get the credit they deserve. I’m proud of their effort each week. Our coaches do a wonderful job getting them prepared each week, too.”
Faidley scored on a 13-yard run midway through the third quarter and Josh McNeil booted his eighth extra point to complete the Frankfort scoring.
Mountain Ridge got on the board on a 1-yard run by Logan Jefferies that capped an 80-yard, 11-play drive in the fourth quarter. Michael Strietbeck ran for the conversion.
It’s not back to the drawing board, but back to the practice field for Mountain Ridge (0-5). One of the area’s most powerful and experienced teams a year ago is now one of the most inexperienced, with plenty of underclassmen in the starting lineup.
“There’s no where else to go,” Miners coach Roy DeVore said, “but to get back out there on Monday and get ready for Chestnut Ridge. We’ve got to work on the things we’re doing wrong, and keep coaching hard and get our players ready for the next week.”
He admitted he was concerned about his team’s confidence.
“We’re playing a lot of sophomores and we’re very young and inexperienced,’’ DeVore said. “And when it seems like there’s a glimmer of hope when we’re moving the ball, we get a dumb penalty, or on defense we’ll have a blown coverage. We just have to keep working hard.”
Logan Jefferies led all rushers with 11 carries and 52 yards for Mountain Ridge.
Randy Riley had seven tackles and a fumble recovery on the Frankfort defense, which allowed one first down in the first half.
Frankfort travels to Fairmont Senior and Mountain Ridge will host Chestnut Ridge on Friday.
Mike Mathews is a Cumberland Times-News sportswriter. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org