Tigers storm past Red Hawks

  • Frontier QB Matt Hildreth throws under pressure from South Hadley’s Ryan Levrault in the Tigers’ 44-13 victory in Friday’s WMass Div. 7 semifinals in South Hadley. STAFF PHOTO/JERREY ROBERTS

  • Frontier quarterback Matt Hildreth, front left, carries the ball before being tackled by Ryan Levrault, front right, of South Hadley, Friday at South Hadley High School. staff photo/jerrey roberts

Staff writer
Published: 11/2/2018 11:10:28 PM

SOUTH HADLEY — Garrett DeForest provided the two brightest spots in the Frontier Regional School football team’s Western Massachusetts Division 7 semifinal loss.

The third-seeded Red Hawks fell 44-13 to No. 2 South Hadley on Friday. The Tigers will face top-seeded defending champion Wahconah in the sectional final at a time and place to be determined.

DeForest scored Frontier’s only two touchdowns on long runs. He went 21 yards up the middle with 10 minutes, 27 seconds left before halftime. That score cut Frontier’s deficit to 14-6.

“Sometimes it just opens right up for you like a tractor trailer coming through the hole, and the hoggies just put them in deep. It opened right up,” DeForest said. “It was good to put points on the board. It’s always important to try and stay in it.”

South Hadley (7-2) made that difficult in the second quarter, however. The Tigers scored 22 unanswered points after DeForest’s TD and pulled away. Tyler Braithewaite found the end zone from 1 yard out 6:19 before halftime, then James Couture returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown a little over a minute later.

South Hadley didn’t let Frontier (5-4) have the ball back the rest of the quarter. The Tigers converted an onside kick after Couture’s touchdown, then embarked on a 12-play drive covering the final 5:10 of the half. Hunter Borowski capped it with a 1-yard touchdown run as the buzzer sounded. A roughing the passer penalty by Frontier negated a fumble recovery by the Red Hawks and kept the Tigers in business.

“Their speed is really overpowering,” DeForest said.

Frontier didn’t fold, though. DeForest went in motion early in the fourth quarter, running in front of Matt Hildreth. The Red Hawks’ quarterback flipped him a shovel pass that DeForest took 39 yards for another touchdown with 9:09 left.

“What we were saying at halftime is ‘Swing.’ That’s all we wanted to do,” DeForest said. “Whatever it took, you’ve just got to go out there and keep grinding.”

He finished with 27 yards rushing and 81 receiving to lead the Red Hawks in both categories. Hildreth also ran for 27 yards and threw for 98.

The Tigers avenged a 28-21 loss in last year’s semifinals in South Deerfield.

“We wanted the home game, we didn’t want to have to play on a grass field. We let everything else fall into place,” South Hadley coach Scott Taylor said. “It was kind of a bonus, honestly, to get Frontier again. Coach (Don) Gordon runs a great program up there, so we knew it would be a good test.”

Frontier will await a non-playoff game next week and close the season with its annual pre-Thanksgiving showdown against Mohawk on Nov. 21.

“Everything’s a learning experience,” DeForest said. “The more we learn, even from this, we can keep going.”


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