Frontier lone local postseason team

  • Frontier's 29 Stephen Worthley scores vs Athol in Deerfield Friday night. October 27, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Frontier's 29 Stephen Worthley yardage in Deerfield Friday night. October 27, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

Recorder Staff
Sunday, October 29, 2017

Two days after winning the Intercounty League North title outright, Frontier Regional School officially found out what it likely already knew about the postseason.

The Red Hawks are in and will be hosting a semifinal game.

Frontier (7-1) discovered it is the second seed in the WMass Division VII playoff field and will host third-seeded South Hadley High School (5-3) in the semifinals Friday night at 7 in South Deerfield. Wahconah Regional High School earned the top seed in the field and will host fourth-seeded Palmer High School in a rematch of last year’s championship game.

The Red Hawks were the only team to qualify for the playoffs out of the IL North this season and are making their fourth-straight trip to the postseason. After a solid regular-season campaign, the Hawks get a chance to finally host a playoff game after earning the fourth seed in each of the previous four seasons and having to go on the road to face the top seed. After facing Hoosac Valley Regional High School in both 2014 (35-0 loss) and 2015 (28-6 loss), Frontier took on Wahconah Regional High School in 2016 (54-8 loss) and all three results were unkind to the Hawks, who have been outscored in the postseason 117-14 in the past three seasons. Getting a home game should certainly put Frontier in better position.

“That’s what we wanted to do,” Frontier coach Don Gordon said. “That was one of our goals — win the league, qualify and host a game — in that order.”

South Hadley overcame a 1-3 start to the season to win its final four games and qualify. The Tigers are coming off a 34-6 pasting of Chicopee High School, which was also vying for a spot in the Division VII field coming into the final week. Gordon was already watching tape of his upcoming opponent on a rainy Sunday morning and he said it figures to be a good game.

“They have a little more depth than we have,” he began. “They’re fast. Their wins are comparable to ours. They edged Pittsfield and the two city schools — Putnam Vocational Technical Academy and High School of Commerce — and then beat Chicopee on Friday.”

All other Recorder-area schools were vying for a spot in the Division VIII field but it was not meant to be as the four-team field consists of Hoosac Valley (8-0), Lee High School (7-1), Ware High School (8-0) and Mt. Greylock Regional High School (6-2), which narrowly edged out Greenfield High School (4-3) for the fourth and final spot. Mt. Greylock finished with a Walker score of 100.61, while the Green Wave was at 99.51. Turners Falls (4-4), Franklin Tech (4-4) and Pioneer (5-2) finished sixth through eighth.

The Green Wave actually had a very good chance to qualify in Division VIII this weekend and was in position following Friday night’s 30-6 victory over Belchertown High School. Mt. Greylock suffered a 42-28 loss Friday night to Amherst Regional High School, which momentarily dropped the Mounties from second place in the division to fifth, moving the Green Wave into the fourth spot. Unfortunately for Greenfield, when Franklin County Technical School defeated Mahar Regional School Saturday, the Eagles (4-4) became playoff eligible with a .500 record and Greenfield’s loss to Franklin Tech actually hurt more in the Walker System, which takes several variables into account, including a team’s record vs. tournament-eligible teams.

“It hurts because we wanted to get into the playoffs, that was our ultimate goal,” Green Wave coach Mike Kuchieski said. “It’s disappointing. We lost three games in a row and that hurt. It kind of hurts a little more now, because if we played well in one of those three games, we would have been in. We preach to the guys that they need to play each game like it’s their last.”

The non-qualifier games were also announced Sunday morning. Greenfield will host Pioneer Friday evening at 6 at Veterans Memorial Field, while Franklin Tech will travel to Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School Friday at 7. The Franklin Tech/Smith Voke game has added meaning because both teams are vying for a berth in the State Vocational Super Bowl.

Turners Falls will also host Mohawk Trail Regional High School Friday night at 7. The other two games featuring local teams have not yet had times confirmed but best-guess is that Ludlow High School will host Mahar Regional School Friday night, and Athol High School will host Belchertown on Friday. Check back in Tuesday’s Recorder for updated dates and times.