Senators turn back Frontier, 40-28
SOUTH DEERFIELD — Mahar Regional School’s football team travelled to Intercounty League foe Frontier Regional School Saturday looking for its third straight win, and thanks to quarterback Logan Barrett, the Senators found it.
Mahar (3-3, 3-2 IL) beat Frontier 40-28 on a gorgeous fall afternoon that saw Barrett run for three scores and throw for two others. The Senators thwarted a furious fourth-quarter comeback bid by the Red Hawks, evening their record and keeping themselves alive for a possible playoff berth.
“We’re getting better,” said Senators coach Greg Scotland.
The day started with a first quarter that featured strong defense by both squads, with only one first down recorded between them. That came with two minutes left in the frame, when Frontier quarterback Oliver Fox and receiver Ian Blight connected on a 57-yard touchdown pass that gave the Red Hawks the early lead. Frontier could not convert the 2-point conversion, and had to settle for the 6-0 advantage.
The second quarter began with a bang for Mahar when Barrett hit Drew Patria for a 45-yard catch and run that tied the score at 6, just 38 seconds in. The Senators could not complete the 2-point pass attempt to take the lead, but it would not take them long to rectify that.
After the defense forced a Frontier punt with a three-and-out on the next series, the Senators used only two plays to hit paydirt again. Barrett and running back Troix Adams combined for a 65-yard score with 6:46 left in the half, and extended the lead to 14-6 when Barrett ran in the 2-point conversion.
The defenses then settled in again, keeping the remainder of the quarter scoreless. Barrett showed his prowess on that side of the ball as well, intercepting a pass by Fox as the Red Hawks drove toward a possible game-tying score. It was the third week in a row that Barrett recorded a pick.
“They seem to throw it right to me. I just hang out in the area and they come to me.” Barrett said.
“We need him. Right now he’s there (on defense), but I prefer not to play him because he just gets too tired running around doing all that stuff,” said Scotland.
“Yeah, it takes a lot out of you,” admitted Barrett. “But I love being out there.”
The third quarter was a strong one for the Senators, and featured a heavy dose of their power running game. Out of 17 plays, 15 were runs and two of those were for touchdowns.
Running back Malik Adams struck first, barreling 49 yards into the end zone at the 8:55 mark, putting the Senators up 20-6. Just over three minutes later, Barrett scampered in for his first running score of the afternoon. After Nick Newton blasted in the 2-point attempt, Mahar was up 28-6 and seemingly in firm control of the contest.
The Red Hawks had other ideas. After being held dormant for most of the day, Frontier’s offense sprang to life, scoring three times and darkening the mood on the Senators’ bench. It started when Fox completed a 76-yard drive with a 4-yard scoring run, and it was 28-12 with 7:29 remaining in the game.
Barrett made his only mistake of the day on the first play of the ensuing Senators’ drive, throwing an interception, and the Red Hawks were in business at midfield. Mahar’s defense held, however, and get the ball back for Barrett, who promptly delivered a 60-yard TD run, making it 34-12 with 4:40 remaining.
The Red Hawks did not quit. On their next possession, they drove 84-yards on 4 plays, with running back Matt Ackerman finishing it off with a beautiful 69-yard score, a sweep that saw him hug the sideline on the way to the end zone. Fox hit Blight for the conversion, and all of a sudden it was 34-20.
The Red Hawks then recovered an onside kick, taking the ball at the 50. Six plays later, Ackerman was in the end zone again, and after Fox strolled in for the 2-point play, it was 34-28 with 1:15 to go.
That’s where the comeback ended for Frontier, which failed to recover another onside kick, giving the Senators and Barrett a short field. On second-and-nine from the Frontier 49, they called a quarterback draw. Barrett pounded through the line and was off to the races again, capping the day with a 49-yard touchdown.
“That’s my offensive line right there,” said Barrett. “I owe it all to them. They make the hole, I just run through it. It’s all coach, too.”
That may be true, but Barrett’s speed and athleticism are clear to anyone watching.
“He’s one of the fastest kids on our team,” said Scotland, “and I would expect that when he gets the opportunity, he’s going to be hard to take down.”
The Senators have little time to celebrate, as they will be on the road again Friday night at 7 p.m. at IL power Turners Falls High School.