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Fort Frye routs short-handed Barnesville

BARNESVILLE – These are tough times in Pumpkinville.

What started as a 3-0 season with visions of a possible state playoff berth have morphed into a four-game losing streak, the most recent setback coming Friday night at the hands of powerful Fort Frye by a 55-7 count.

If taking on the unbeaten and state-ranked Cadets wasn’t a tough enough assignment, the Shamrocks were forced to do so minus the services of stellar quarterback Ayden Hannahs, who did not suit up due to injury. Hannahs was the area’s leading passer after six games with 1,266 aerial yards to go with 13 TDs.

Fort Frye, fresh off a 42-0 triumph over Wheeling Central, appears formidable enough to repeat last year’s OHSAA playoff semifinal run while also being a serious threat to repeat as OVAC 3A champions.

The Cadets are a potent bunch. Coach Eric Huck’s charges dominated on both sides of the the ball, solidifying their top spot in the Division 6, Region 21 playoff rankings.

The Beverly-based squad unloaded three first-quarter touchdowns en route to building a 35-0 halftime advantage, resulting in the second half being played under the OHSAA mercy rule.

Ian Ellis was the Cadets’ brightest star this night. The sophomore quarterback completed all nine of his pass attempts for 182 yards and three touchdowns.

Tyler Fisher was an ideal complement for Ellis. The senior running back galloped for 112 yards and two TDs on just nine pops. He also landed two scoring passes.

“I thought we played well. Ian stepped up big and threw the ball very well. He had a pretty good night and our receivers did a nice job of catching the ball,” Huck said. “I thought we also played really well defensively. I know Barnesville was a little short-handed.

“We only have six seniors but all are really good players,” the OVAC Bill Van Horne coach-of-the-year last spring said. “We are junior dominated and have some real good young kids coming up. I am happy with where we are at.”

Barnesville, alternating two quarterbacks in attempt to cushion the void created by Hannahs absence, struggled all night against the tenacious Fort Frye defense.

The Shamrocks rushed for only 85 yards and completed just five-of-15 passes with two interceptions. The hosts also lost a fumble.

“It is tough right now but we have to forget about it because we have a war with Monroe Central, a rival game, next week,” Barnesville head coach Blake Allen said. “That is where we need to focus. We will watch some film and learn from this and move onward and upward.

“This is two years in a row this has happened (lose their starting quarterback). It was just a fluke. Ayden went down in practice and we had basically one day to get ready without him,” he added. “But that still doesn’t excuse what we did defensively. We were out of position early and gave up some big plays. Once they get on top of you they are a well-oiled machine.”

Fort Frye scored on its first possession, driving 50 yards on five plays, capped by a 38-yard sweep from Zane Greenleaf. David Kitts added the PAT.

Ellis speared Fisher with a 15-yard TD with 3:29 left in the opening quarter. Kitts made it a 14-0 lighting.

Fisher scooted in from the two with 1:01 showing in the opening session. Kitts converted for a 21-0 Cadet lead.

Fort Frye added two second-quarter scores, both coming on the accurate arm of Ellis. He teamed with Fisher on a 10-yard scoring connection before spearing Greenleaf from 25 yards. Kitts added two PATs for a 35-0 halftime upperhand.

The Cadets added two more six-pointers in the third quarter. Greenleaf sprinted 34 yards for a TD before Fisher broke loose on a 40-yard scoring scamper. Kitz converted both times for a 49-0 advantage after three quarters.

The winners’ final score came with 6:31 to play via a two-yard run from Owen Brown. The kick failed.

Barnesville averted a shutout with 2:15 remaining when freshman QB C.J. Hannahs teamed with sophomore Spencer Bliss on a 31-yard scoring connection. Gavin Carpenter added the PAT.

Hard-running Alex Meade topped the Shamrocks rushing attack with 61 stripes.

Fort Frye hosts Caldwell Friday as the Cadets celebrate Senior Night.

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