BEVERLY - The Fort Frye Cadets played several games down to the wire in 2012, and they picked up right where they left last season in week one of this season, defeating River 23-17 at Cadet Field Friday night.
The Cadets went into halftime, at about 8:20 p.m., with a 10-7 lead, and did not return to the field until approximately 9:30 p.m., as the lights on the visitor's side of the field went out. The delay did not cool off the Cadets however, as they outscored the Pilots 13-10 in the second half.
"We were communicating with the officials and they said, 'Relax, it's gonna be a while," said Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck. "We just had the players get off their feet and get their pads off and just relax and try to focus on the game."
River out-gained Fort Frye 265-252 yardage-wise, but the Cadets were able to finish off more drives.
"We made just enough plays, I guess," Huck said.
The Cadets got on the board first on their third possession of the game in the second quarter.
With the ball at the River 45-yard line, quarterback Chandler Lang hit Colten Shuster for 11 yards, and later ran for 19 more to set up Fort Frye with 1st-and-10 at the River 15. Lang would then rush for gains of five and three before losing two yards on third down to make it 4th-and-4 at the River 9-yard line.
Huck sent out the field goal unit and kicker Zach Prichard nailed the 25-yard attempt to give the Cadets a 3-0 lead with 5:59 left in the second quarter.
Fort Frye found the end zone two possessions later. With River punting from its own 1-yard line, Lang took the kick all the way back to the 12. On the ensuing play, Lang handed to Prichard, who cut to the left side of the field and made his way across the goal line. Prichard hit the PAT to make it 10-0 in favor of Fort Frye with just 1:16 left in the half.
That proved to be plenty of time for the Pilots to put a scoring drive together.
River got the ball on its own 34, and after an illegal procedure penalty made it 1st-and-15, River's Jordan Sapp took a hand-off 18 yards for a first down. After quarterback Joe Flannery hit Bryce Cross on a seven yard pass play, Sapp ran for 12 more yards to give the Pilots 1st-and-10 at the Fort Frye 34.
The Cadets forced River into a 3rd-and-7 situation, but after the Pilots called timeout, Flannery hit Cross again for 11 yards and a first down at the 20-yard line. That set up Flannery's 20-yard touchdown pass to Bailey Reusser with just 16 seconds to spare in the half. Colton Wright made the extra point to cut Fort Frye's lead to three points.
After the extra long halftime, Fort Frye got the ball and went to work at its own 39. Lang ran for eight yards on first down, and after a sack by River made it 3rd-and-8, Lang hit Terren Huck on an 8-yard pass for a fresh set of downs.
Two plays later, facing 3rd-and-11, Lang connected with C.J. Huck for 10 yards, giving Eric Huck a decision to make at 4th-and-1 at the River 41. After a timeout by the Cadets, Derek Layton took the snap on a fake punt and ran it up the middle for two yards, just enough for a Fort Frye first down.
Lang carried the ball on the next three plays for a total of 20 yards, putting the ball at the 20-yard line. A few plays later, Lang took a 9-yard carry to the River 3-yard line. That's when Lang rolled to his right and found Prichard in the back of the end zone for a Cadet touchdown. The 2-point conversion attempt was no good, making it 16-7.
"I thought we did a good job coming out," Huck said. "We came out and put a nice drive together."
While the drive netted Fort Frye six points, it also took a precious seven minutes and 14 seconds off the clock.
River made up for that lost time on its next possession though. After a sack by Fort Frye's Garrin Knotts made it 2nd-and-14 at River's own 24-yard line, Sapp found a big hole and burst all the way to the end zone for a 76-yard score. Wright hit the PAT to make it 16-14.
Fort Frye would answer two possessions later.
Lang started the drives with two pass completions to Terren Huck to bring the Cadets to River's 34.
Lang then ran for 13 yards to the 20-yard line before hitting C.J. Huck for 11 more to give the Cadets 1st-and-goal at the 9.
Lang powered through the defense on the next play for a 9-yard touchdown run, and Prichard's kick made it 23-14.
After River answered with a 35-yard field goal by Wright, Fort Frye drove all the way to the River 38-yard line before stalling. Lang's punt went out of bounds at the 28, giving River three-and-a-half minutes to go 72 yards for the win.
It didn't start out great as Sapp was dropped for a 4-yard loss by Cadet linebacker Garrett Hall. Flannery kept his composure and hit Cross for a 12-yard gain on 3rd-and-14 before Cross took the fourth down hand-off two yards to move the chains.
Flannery tried to go deep on the next play, and while the pass was incomplete, interference was called on Fort Frye, giving River a fresh set of downs at the Fort Frye 45. Flannery then found Cross again for 11 yards, and then again on back-to-back plays for gains of seven and eight yards.
Flannery then spiked the ball to stop the clock with 31 seconds left. After consecutive incompletions made it fourth down, River had one last shot.
Flannery rolled to his left and threw to one of his targets on an out pattern, but the pass was broken up and the Pilots turned it over on downs with 18 seconds left.
Lang took a knee and that was it.
"I thought our line did a good job tonight," Huck said. "We knew some things were working and defensively (River) adjusted to it. We kept doing it anyway and we still were able to block it.
Lang led the Cadets with 96 yards on 21 carries and was also 12-for-20 for 150 yards through the air.
C.J. Huck had four catches for 68 yards, Terren Huck had four for 41 and Shuster had three for 38.
Prichard touched the ball twice for the Cadets on the night, both times for touchdowns. He accounted for 17 of Fort Frye's 23 points.
"He's quite an athlete," Huck said. "It's only his second year playing football, but he's definitely an athlete. It's nice to have a couple guys, and he's one of them, who can plays for us."
Sapp had 151 yards on 20 touches for River. Cross had 57 yards six catches and Flannery was 7-for-18 for 76 passing yards.
Fort Frye (1-0) will travel to Belpre Friday while River (0-1) will be at Bishop Donahue Saturday.