Hawks deny Mohawk
Fro 7 Rylan Baronas
Fro 7 Rylan Baronas evades tackle by Moh 72 Jake Orzechowski
Moh 23 Connor Maloney is taclked by Fro 9 Oliver Fox
Moh 8 Alex Buntin intercepts in end zone
BUCKLAND — Frontier Regional School defensive back Oliver Fox needed his whole 5-foot-5, 135-pound frame Wednesday night.
With Mohawk needing a two-point conversion to tie the game after it scored a touchdown with 2 minutes, 43 seconds remaining, Fox batted away the two-point-conversion pass with his fingertips and the Red Hawks held on for an 8-6 Intercounty League victory in the schools’ annual Thanksgiving Eve football game at Pollard Field.
Mohawk quarterback Alex Buntin rolled to his right on the key conversion attempt, had both Connor Maloney and Andrew Doty in the right corner of the end zone and his pass seemed destined for Maloney’s mitts before Fox got his fingertips on the ball to bat it away and ultimately secure the Hawks’ win.
“He got his hand up last minute,” Frontier coach Scott Dredge said. “I’m glad he got it, too, because it was a little redemption for himself after getting burned a few times on that drive.”
Frontier (3-7) grabbed the lead late in the second quarter and it came on the broad shoulders of senior running back Chris Toomey, who entered the game with a team-leading 375 rushing yards but has been hampered by a shoulder injury of late. There was little sign of any injury against the Warriors, as he rushed for 82 yards on 15 workhorse carries.
The first play of note came with 50.3 seconds left in a scoreless first half. The Hawks were looking at a third-and-8 from the Mohawk 22 on the 12th play of a drive that started at their own 22. Toomey took the handoff and went up the middle virtually untouched as he ran 22 yards to the end zone for the game’s first touchdown. Frontier quarterback Rylan Baronas (10 carries, 36 yards) ran in the two-point conversion for the 8-0 lead.
“When coach said 36-power (the play), my head started rushing and I was nervous as hell but I trusted my linemen. They were great tonight and I got in,” Toomey said.
The Red Hawks carried that lead into the fourth quarter, but Mohawk (3-7) drove 88 yards in just over three minutes. Buntin (8-for-15 for 102 yards) stepped up on the drive, going 4-for-4 for 61 yards, including back-to-back completions to Ryan Pease, which netted the Warriors 30 yards. The second completion to Pease set Mohawk up with a first-and-goal from the 4, and running back Doty needed just one try to run around the left end and walk into the end zone untouched with 2:43 left to play.
After the conversion fell short, Mohawk attempted an onsides kick, but Frontier freshman Justin Farrick fell on the ball and the Hawks took over. Mohawk used its final two timeouts and when Frontier stared at a third-and-five from the Mohawk 45, Toomey got hit at the line but bulled his way to the first down to end the game.
The performance earned Toomey the Tim Dash Memorial Award as the Most Valuable Player for Frontier. Buntin picked up the Mike Gaffigan Award as the MVP for Mohawk.
Mohawk receiver Stephen Reynolds had a tough night, dropping three wide-open passes that appeared ticketed for the end zone.