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JOHNSTON: Fort Frye football and food for thought

BEVERLY — Fort Frye’s Braden Medley pounced on the Dalton fumble at the 2-yard line like it was a sirloin steak.

Ah, the sweet taste of Fort Frye victory.

Then, Cadet running back Tyler Fisher took an Ian Ellis hand-off and raced, like he was late for Mindy’s supper, 98 yards to the house.

All of a sudden, instead of the Cadets being buried in pasta, 21-7, they’d knotted the score at 14-all.

“That was big, right at the beginning of the game,” said FFHS head chef Eric Huck afterwards. “They (Dalton Bulldogs) were about ready to score and we got a turnover. Then, we ran a trap for 98 yards. That was huge.”

Yes, even though it was still in the first quarter and there was a lot of football game left, this was a turning point in the OHSAA Division VI, Region 21 quarterfinal Saturday night.

Undefeated Fort Frye (11-0) went on to muzzle the Bulldogs, 48-39, and will now face Mogadore in a semi at 7 p.m. Friday.

While the Cadet offense racked up a total of 519 yards, Dalton finished with a whopping 595 — and lost. The Bulldogs have nobody to blame but themselves.

Dalton QB Adam Bidlack passed for almost 500 yards (482) and four touchdowns. But he also had three throws intercepted by the ballhawking Cadets.

The Dogs also coughed it up two times and lost both to the Fort.

That’s five turnovers, and that’ll usually get you beat on the gridiron, no matter how many yards you gain otherwise.

Fort Frye had zero turnovers. And, while the Cadet D bent like a turkey wishbone, it didn’t break.

“I’m just real proud of the way on both sides of the ball, our guys stepped up and made big plays when we needed them,” Huck said.

Wild and woolly, the Fort clung to a 28-27 halftime lead, thanks to a missed Dalton point-after-touchdown kick. The Cadets knew then they were in for a tossed salad tussle.

“We had a motivational speech in the locker room to pump us all up,” said Fisher, the star of the game with over 200 yards rushing and three TDs. “And, then we came out and executed.

“We had to adjust a couple of minor things, and came out here — and executed perfectly.”

After the break, Fisher scored his third TD of the game on a short 1-yard burst, and Ellis passed for two scores.

On the second TD throw to Brady Schilling, it started out as a double reverse with the backs handling the ball like a hot potato. The pigskin then was lateraled back to Ellis, who fired an end zone strike. That and the ensuing PAT made it 48-33.

All the Cadets had to do at that point was stick a fork in the Bulldogs, because they were done.

Well, almost done.

Dalton scored the last points of the game on Bidlack scoring strike to Dillon Horst.

But then, Fort was able to get its third and final pick with Brian Adkins hauling in Bidlack’s errant, desperation throw with 2:43 remaining.

All in all, the Cadets were just hungry for a home playoff win — and got it.

Ah, the sweet taste of a Fort triumph.

Ron Johnston can be reached at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com

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