Cadets, Zeps ready for key matchup

SARAHSVILLE — The most important Pioneer Valley Conference football game of the year is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday between Fort Frye and Shenandoah.

The visiting Cadets (7-1 overall) are 3-0 in PVC play while the Zeps (7-1) are 1-1 and need a win to stay in contention for a share of the league title.

The matchup also has crucial playoff implications as Shenandoah and Fort Frye are currently fourth and sixth, respectively, in the Division VI, Region 23 standings. The top eight teams will get in and the top four will play at home in the first round.

Shenandoah was having a dream season until a stunning 24-22 loss at Monroe Central two weeks ago. The Zeps rebounded last week with 8-0 win at Morgan, which saw the return of running back Nick Miller. Miller had missed time with an injury but returned in the second half last week, rushing for 20 yards on six carries and scoring the game’s only touchdown. For the season, Miller has rushed 117 times for 990 yards (8.5 yards per carry) and 14 touchdowns.

The Zeps also have quarterback Boone Jones and running back Kendal Sherman who are capable of making plays.

Fort Frye has defeated Shenandoah five straight times, with the Zeps’ last win coming by a score of 45-0 in 2011. The Cadets also have won 14 straight PVC games dating back to 2014.

Since falling to Northridge, 6-0, in week two, Fort Frye has outscored its opponents by an average of 36.2 to 5.5. The Cadets have been led on offense by junior quarterback Tate Engle and the backfield trio of Tyler Bradford, Evan Schob and Tyler Fisher.

Last week alone in a 33-0 win versus Caldwell, Fisher and Bradford combined for 11 carries, 185 yards and four touchdowns.

Shenandoah, which pitched a shutout against Morgan last week, will need a similar defensive effort this week against a much more potent offense.

However, when at full strength the Zeps are capable of putting up points as well. Before the Monroe Central loss, Shenandoah was scoring 39.5 points per game.

“They are a very good football team and we are going to spend a lot of time preparing for them,” Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck said following last Friday’s win.

“It’s a big game and we will be working very hard to get ready for it.”