H.S. Football: Ian Burt scores twice to lift Frontier past Ware, 12-6

For the Recorder
Published: 9/9/2022 11:01:14 PM
Modified: 9/9/2022 11:00:53 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Frontier football won't want to make a habit of keeping its defense on the field for nine minutes in the fourth quarter, but the extended late work paid off handsomely in Friday night's season opener.

With less than three minutes to play, Ware set up with first-and-goal at the Frontier 11, but got no closer to the end zone as the Redhawks forced a fumble for a loss and then a pair of incomplete passes to preserve their 12-6 independent victory. 

Junior Ian Burt scored both Redhawk touchdowns, including the eventual game winner on a 7-yard run with 10:29 left. From there, it was up to the hosts' defense to play the bend-but-don't-break game right down to the end.

“I appreciate that we got an ugly win, and I mean that in a good way,” said Frontier coach Scott Dredge. “That was a pretty classic Frontier-Ware game, 12-6. We hung in there and played a hard-nosed game. We were able to knock them back and stop them when we needed to.”

Coming off a disappointing 3-7 finish in 2021, Frontier began the new season brightly enough, scoring on its first possession of the game on an 18-yard hookup from Aiden Dredge to Burt on a wheel route. The Redhawks kept the ball on the ground for the first 12 plays of the 68-yard drive that consumed 8:44 on the clock, before airing it out for the score less than a minute into the second quarter.

Burt led the Redhawks Friday with 122 yards on 11 carries, providing the bulk of their 148 yards of total offense.

"He's the wheels of the team, and he's gonna be getting the ball a lot," said Scott Dredge of Burt. "We try to do that committee work with the triple option. He's got the speed and obviously we want to use that."

The Redhawks missed out on a chance to pad their lead when Burt broke a 52-yard run down to the Ware 3. Aiden Dredge picked up two yards on first-and-goal, but lost 10 yards on a fumble, and then a bad snap from center was covered by Ware's Cam McCormick to end the threat.

Ware, 9-2 and a Division 8 state quarterfinalist last season, had a punt partially blocked and two lost fumbles on its first three drives of the night. Just before the half, though, Ware took over at its own 28 and got an instant 37-yard gain from Gavin Sawabi. After a nine-yard pickup by Sawabi, quarterback Brady Dyer lofted a 26-yard scoring pass to a streaking Ethan Compton in the back left corner of the end zone to even the score at 6-6 with only 34 seconds to play. The two-point conversion try came up short.

Kyle Safford then picked off Aiden Dredge on Frontier's first play from scrimmage, giving Ware possession at the Redhawk 35, and Dyer promptly connected with Safford for 19 yards down to the 16. After an incompletion, Dyer was intercepted by Burt in the back of the end zone. Burt managed to return it out to the Frontier 23 as the half expired.

The Redhawks came up with their second pick of Dyer midway through the third quarter, when Kaden James stepped in front of a pass and returned it 10 yards to the Frontier 49. After an exchange of punts, Frontier began at the Ware 39 with a 14-yard gain by Burt and a personal-foul call against Ware that moved the ball down to the 10. Two runs by Sean Kirkendall and one by James brought up fourth-and-goal at the 7. On an option into the left boundary, Dredge got the late pitch away to Burt, who turned the corner and eased inside the near pylon for the go-ahead touchdown.

Ware then began at its own 20 after another personal-foul penalty during the kickoff runback. Sawabi, who finished with a game-high 170 yards on 25 carries, ran the ball nine times for 52 yards during the drive as Ware ground their way down to the Frontier 11.

There, the Redhawks' James dropped Sawabi for a 6-yard loss and a fumble recovered by Ware's Phillip Fox at the 17. Sawabi got the 6 yards back on the next carry, putting the ball back at the 11 on third down. Dyer then threw a pair of incompletions intended for McCormick, the second just at the first-down marker near the 1-yard line.

Frontier managed to run out the last 1:36 on the clock from there.

Burt and Wyatt Edes each came up with fumble recoveries for the Redhawks. Ware finished the night with a 259-148 edge in total yardage.

The Redhawks host Palmer in another independent game Friday at 7 p.m.


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