Football: Frontier edged by Belchertown in opener

  • Frontier sophomore running back Josh Semaski (19) reaches for a pass that fell incomplete under pressure from Belchertown junior defensive back Tyler Laramee in the third quarter of the Red Hawks' 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Orioles on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.

  • Frontier sophomore running back Josh Semaski, left, bounces into the grasp of Belchertown senior safety Hunter Klingensmith near the goal line in the third quarter of the Red Hawks’ 8-7 loss to the host Orioles on Friday. Staff Photo/Kevin Gutting

  • Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan holds his helmet after the first of two back-to-back false start penalties was called on the Red Hawks in the third quarter of their 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Belchertown on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. At left is backup quarterback Sam Schreiber.

  • Frontier sophomore quarterback Sam Schreiber (30) looks to pass to sophomore Josh Semaski, left, in the fourth quarter of the Red Hawks’ 8-7 loss to host Belchertown on Friday. Staff Photo/Kevin Gutting

  • Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan, center, carries a handoff from sophomore quarterback Sam Schreiber, left, before succumbing to a tackle by Belchertown senior Curtis Walther, top, in the third quarter of the Red Hawks' 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Orioles on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.

  • Belchertown senior Matt Czupryna (82) has his legs lifted out from under him by Frontier senior linebacker Donovan Hoffman, left, in the fourth quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over the visiting Red Hawks on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Also on the play are, from left, Belchertown senior Hunter Klingensmith (20) and Frontier juniors Ethan Russell and Ethan Machon.

  • Belchertown senior tackle Curtis Walther, top, gets a handle on Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan en route to bringing him down in the third quarter of the Orioles’ 8-7 win over the visiting Red Hawks on Friday. Staff Photo/Kevin Gutting

  • Belchertown senior Cal Daskam, left, runs behind blocking from junior guard Nolan Cowles, second from right, in the fourth quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over visiting Frontier on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Red Hawk freshman AJ Mihalak (76) and junior Alec Kirkendall, right, defend on the play.

  • Frontier sophomore running back Josh Semaski, center, bounces out of the grasp of Belchertown senior Matt Czupryna, on the ground at left, and into the arms of Belchertown senior safety Hunter Klingensmith, right, near the goal line in the third quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over the visiting Red Hawks on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. Frontier junior lineman Jackie Phong is at top left.

  • Frontier senior running back Ito McMillan, right, reacts after the first of two back-to-back false start penalties was called on the Red Hawks in the third quarter of their 8-7 Intercounty League loss to the host Belchertown on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. At left is backup quarterback Sam Schreiber.

  • Belchertown senior quarterback Cameron Otto (11) hands off to junior running back Sam Winston (2) in the fourth quarter of the Orioles' 8-7 Intercounty League win over visiting Fronteir on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019.

Staff Writer
Published: 9/6/2019 10:46:13 PM

BELCHERTOWN — Too many mistakes and absences mounted for the Frontier Regional football team in its season opener, an 8-7 road loss against Belchertown. It’s the Red Hawks’ first 0-1 start since 2014.

They committed 12 penalties, including eight false starts and two facemask personal fouls. They also fumbled the ball on Belchertown’s side of the field to set up the Orioles’ only touchdown.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with some fundamental mistakes in the center-quarterback exchange,” Frontier coach Don Gordon said. “It just stopped any potential drive that we had.”

Frontier also played most of the game missing one of its best players and captains. Senior Garrett Deforest exited the field late in the first quarter after a shoulder injury on defense. His shoulder pops out from time to time, Gordon said.

Deforest is Frontier’s quarterback this season after rushing for more than 1,300 yards as a running back last year. He also is one of their key run stoppers. The Red Hawks benefited from his presence and noticed his absence. He scored the team’s only touchdown on a 44-yard punt return with 4 minutes, 38 seconds left in the first quarter.

Frontier received the ball to open the game once Belchertown deferred after winning the opening coin toss. The Red Hawks punted after an eight-play drive, then forced a Belchertown punt deep in the Orioles’ zone. Hunter Klingensmith didn’t get all of the kick, and Deforest settled under it on the left sideline. He burst down the line before following a block and cutting back inside to the end zone.

“That gave us a lot of momentum to start off,” Frontier senior Donovan Hoffman said.

The Red Hawks couldn’t maintain it. They forced a punt on Belchertown’s next possession and ran out the rest of the first quarter. Deforest fumbled on his only carry of the game three plays into the second, and Belchertown’s Curtis Walther recovered.

Deforest’s shoulder injury occurred during that defensive possession. Belchertown went 87 yards aided by a Frontier facemask, and Cal Daskam capped the drive with a 37-yard score down the right side after a double handoff.

“My quarterback messed up, he bootlegged out and blocked the corner for me,” Daskam said. “I made a cut inside, and I was gone.”

Despite having a capable kicker in Klingensmith, Belchertown coach Ed Wyzik decided to go for two points and the lead.

“I knew they were a tough team. Going in early I wanted to see how it would work,” he said. “It was one of those plays where you could either get the two or everyone can question you later on.”

Deforest had his shoulder pads and flak jacket off sitting on the bench for the rest of the first half. Frontier’s defense rose to the occasion in his absence. The Red Hawks sacked Cam Otto, and Alex Kirkendall recovered a fumble with 1:15 to halftime. A false start and two runs sent the game to halftime.

“We responded well to the adversity,” Hoffman said.

Deforest put his shoulder pads, uniform and helmet on at halftime hoping to re-enter the game. Frontier’s trainer didn’t allow it, Gordon said.

“He was ready to go,” Gordon said.

Frontier’s offense struggled to find traction without its signal caller. Backup quarterback Sam Schreiber went 1-for-4 for six yards, and the Red Hawks struggled with getting the snap to him. Only 63 of Frontier’s 219 rushing yards came in the second half. Ito McMillan led the team with 76 yards on the ground, and Josh Semanski added 73.

The Red Hawks’ best chance to take the lead came at the end of the third and start of the fourth quarters. They forced another fumble that Semanski recovered with 3:22 remaining in the third on Belchertown’s 30. Frontier covered 23 yards in three plays, then a false start pushed them to first and goal from the 12. Semanski carried the ball to the 1-yard line, and lineman Ethan Russell was hurt on the play.

Frontier lost and gained back three yards on the next two plays to send the game to the fourth quarter. McMillan was stopped for a loss on fourth and goal, and Belchertown took over after offsetting penalties. Kicking a field goal wasn’t an option because Deforest is the long snapper.

“I would have kicked if I had a snapper,” Gordon said. “I asked the team, and they said go for it.”

On Belchertown’s next drive, Frontier’s Ethan Machan was injured playing defense. He stayed on the turf face down until an ambulance arrived and he was taken away on a stretcher with a neck brace. Gordon said the injury ultimately wasn’t serious and Machan was fine.

The Red Hawks remain on the road next week with a trip to Monument Mountain.

“We’re gonna learn more about our own personnel when we see the film,” Gordon said. “Some did a really good job, and others need some improvement.”

 Belchertown 8, Frontier 7

Scoring summary

First quarter

F -- Garrett DeForest 44 punt return (Dylan Appanell kick) (4:38)

Second quarter

B -- Cal Daskam 37 run (Daskam run) 5:41

Third Quarter

No scoring

Fourth quarter

No scoring

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Belchertown – Daskam 13-107, Sam Winston 8-33, Cam Otto 7-21, Owen Sedlacek 4-9, Matt Czupryna 1-4. Frontier Regional – Ito McMillan 11-76, Josh Semaski 17-73, Alex Kirkendall 8-21, Deforest 1-4, Sam Schreibier 1-(-1)

PASSING—Belchertown – Otto 0-4-0-0. Frontier Regional – Schreibier 1-4-6-0

RECEIVING—Belchertown – none. Frontier Regional – Semaski 1-6.




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