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Fort Frye blanks Caldwell

Photo by Jordan Holland Fort Frye’s Brian Adkins (21) carries the ball as Caldwell’s Brandon Piskula (3) attempts to make a tackle during a high school football game Friday night.

CALDWELL — The Fort Frye defense had its best showing of the 2020 season thus far Friday night, limiting host Caldwell to 89 total yards in a 26-0 victory at the Noble County Fairgrounds.

The Cadets, who are now 3-0, surrendered just 59 rushing yards on 20 carries. Caldwell also could only muster 30 yards through the air on 11 attempts. Nic Hart and Jaymison Baker each had an interception, while Braden Medley forced a fumble.

“Our defense stepped up,” said Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck. “They (Caldwell) have some players that can really play. (Braxton) Dudley is very good at quarterback. (Caden) Moore and a couple other guys can run the ball. Very good offense we were going against and I thought our defense played very well tonight.”

Senior Dylan Hart is one of the best linebackers in the state of Ohio and the leader of the Fort defense. His sack of Dudley in the final minutes of the game helped preserve the shutout.

“We had a solid night, but we definitely had things to improve on,” Hart said. “Everybody can step up their game.

“Our D-line, they’re our strong suit right now. They’re really putting in the work and they’re grinding. It’s awesome to see.”

Not to be forgotten was the Fort Frye offense, which amassed 305 total yards. The Cadets carried 35 times for 162 yards, a 4.6 per carry average to help grind the clock down in the second half.

Quarterback Ian Ellis had one of the best passing games of his career, going 12 for 13 for 143 yards and a touchdown.

“Ian can put the ball anywhere,” Hart said.

At the end of the second quarter, Fort Frye ran a hurry-up offense and Ellis got to show off his arm, completing all four of his pass attempts on the drive for 53 yards. The drive was capped by a 24-yard TD pass to Nic Hart to give the Cadets a 26-0 halftime advantage.

“Ellis is a heck of a quarterback and we’ve got some guys who can catch the ball,” Huck said. “We wanted to practice that. We wanted to get that in. We saw a chance to run our hurry-up offense and throw the ball around and I thought we looked pretty good doing it. Our pass protection’s got to be a little better, but overall I thought it was pretty good.”

Caldwell (1-2) got the ball to start and Fort Frye forced a quick three-and-out.

On the Cadets’ first offensive possession, a 43-yard pass from Ellis to Jaymison Baker put the ball inside Caldwell’s 1. A false start set the Cadets back momentarily, but Owen Brown ran for a 5-yard TD on the next play to make it 6-0 at the 7:15 mark.

On Caldwell’s second drive, Dudley completed a pass to Chris Hill for 4 yards, but Medley stripped the ball from Hill and Fort Frye recovered it to get the ball in Caldwell’s red zone.

Brian Adkins ended up running for a 22-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 12-0 with 4:58 left in the first.

The ensuing kickoff was mishandled by Caldwell, forcing CHS to start its drive at its own 5-yard line. Dudley dropped back to pass, but was pressured and dumped the ball off into no-man’s land. Intentional grounding in the end zone was called, resulting in a safety to make it 14-0.

Caldwell had to kick the ball to Fort Frye after the safety. Facing a third-and-16, Ellis dropped back to pass but had nobody open. He scrambled, avoided a couple of tackles and picked up 17 yards to move the chains. The drive finished with a 4-yard TD burst by Collin Welsh to put the Cadets up 20-0 four seconds into the second quarter.

It was 26-0 at halftime after the touchdown by Nic Hart, who caught four passes for 61 yards in the game. Baker added three catches for 57 yards. Adkins led all ball-carriers with 67 yards on seven carries.

Fort Frye got the ball to start the third quarter and drove into Caldwell territory before fumbling it away.

Caldwell followed with its best drive of the game, as a 13-yard run by Dudley and a 15-yard carry by Marshall Sayre helped get the ball to the Fort Frye 30. However, Dudley was picked off by Baker on a fourth-and-5 play to end the threat.

Caldwell had another scoring opportunity after T.J Wehr blocked Fort Frye’s ensuing punt attempt. The Redskins got the ball as the Fort Frye 25, but an unsportsmanlike conduct call doomed the drive, and Fort Frye stopped Caldwell on downs.

“We didn’t run the ball as well as we wanted to tonight,” Huck said. “Had a lot of mistakes in penalties (9 for 90 yards) and things we’ve got to clean up, but other than that I thought it was a pretty good ball game.”

Dudley completed 7 of 11 pass attempts for 30 yards for Caldwell. He also ran eight times for 26 yards to lead the team. The ‘Skins will look to bounce back next Friday at Monroe Central.

Fort Frye now has three quality wins over Waterford, Warren and Caldwell, with a home matchup against Williamstown set for next Friday. Dylan Hart knows the Cadets will be ready.

“Our coaches pretty much get us prepared for anything that comes our way,” said the All-Ohio linebacker. “We just need to execute.”

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