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Weir High’s comeback falls short at Frankfort

SHORT GAP — After Weir High widdled a once-17-point edge to just four with 3:10 left to play on Friday, Frankfort needed somebody on offense to step up to secure its second win in as many games.

Parker VanMeter was up to the challenge. The sophomore burst through the line on the Red Riders’ 20, and it appeared as if a defender would bring him down short of the end zone.

But, the 5-foot-9, 180-pound VanMeter wouldn’t be denied, dragging the would-be tackler what seemed like 10 yards across the goal line. The Falcon faithful and bench erupted, as he put six crucial points on the board, the final score of a wild second half, as Frankfort held on to beat Weir, 37-26.

“I’m glad we got the win,” Falcon head coach Kevin Whiteman said. “I was a little concerned there in the second half. In the first half, I thought we played well defensively, but our offense was very slow starting, too many mistakes.”

Frankfort entered the night 1-0 following a 46-0 win over Hampshire on the Trojans’ new turf field. Weir fell to Class AAA school John Marshall, 48-6, in its first contest but came in confident after beating the Falcons, 28-27, in overtime last season.

After a slog offensively to begin the first 30 minutes of action, both teams exploded in the second half.

The squads combined for 49 points following the intermission — the Falcons scoring 30 to the Red Riders’ 19, and 411 yards of offense. Weir tallied 254 to 167 from Frankfort.

The Falcons were stymied in the opening half on the ground, rushing for just 33 yards in the 7-7 halftime tie. But, Whiteman and his staff made the adjustment to call more power sweeps to get the ball outside, and the move paid dividends as Frankfort ran for 167 yards in the second half alone.

Andrew Westfall had six carries for 70 yards, all of which came in the second half, and a score. Jansen Moreland went for 62 yards and a touchdown on a team-high 13 carries.

“I thought we moved the ball well in the second half,” Whiteman said. “Proud of the coaching staff, we made some good adjustments at halftime. We just gotta keep our foot on the gas and not let up. We gotta keep playing, and we can’t have the big turnovers that killed us. I’m proud of the effort, but we still have a ton of things we need to work on.”

The lapse in play Whiteman is alluding to came after Frankfort upped its edge to 30-13 with just 10 minutes left in the action.

Weir responded with a six-play, 73-yard drive capped by a Justin Brueck 18-yard scamper. The Falcons then gave the ball back on the ensuing offensive possession on a fumble, and Red Rider quarterback Anthony DiMatteis rushed for a 35-yard score on the first play to bring the score to 30-26.

Weir running back Jamari Bass had 12 carries for 88 yards to lead both teams. Receiver Gage Reitter caught six passes for 73 yards and a score.

Despite the up-and-down night defensively for Frankfort, the unit was opportunistic.

Westfall picked off DiMatteis twice, including a game-icing interception on Weir’s last stand offensively. Defensive lineman Taylor Miller caught a batted pass at the line from the Red Rider gunslinger for an INT of his own, taking it to the 5-yard line to set up a Corey Brieloff field goal.

DiMatteis ended the night with a line of 14 for 26 for 135 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. He added 65 yards on the turf.

“Overall, the defense bent, but they didn’t break,” Whiteman said. “They did give up some big plays, but we were able to hang on in the end and win the game, and that’s what matters.

“Andy Westfall is a veteran. He’s been starting since he was a sophomore, and he does a good job.”

The Falcons also were recipients of big special teams plays. Kick returner Peyton Clark took an 86-yard return to the house after Weir cut the deficit to 20-13 in the third quarter.

In the first half, both sides started slow offensively. Each of the first seven drives ended in punts; the first two drives by both teams ended in three-and-outs.

With 10 minutes left in the second quarter, Weir gifted the struggling Falcons’ offense a golden opportunity to put its first points on the board.

The Red Rider long snapper launched the ball over his punter, and although they recovered the miscue, Jake Clark made the tackle to set up a short field on the Weir 12-yard line. Two plays later, Moreland bursted through the end zone for a 2-yard score to give Frankfort a 7-0 lead with 9:20 left in the opening half.

But, the Falcons returned the favor in moments, as Colton McTaggart’s pass appeared to be tipped and directed into the hands of Weir defensive back Jayden Anderson, who ran 22 yards into the Frankfort endzone to level the scoreboard at 7-all.

Neither team eclipsed 100 yards going into the break — the Falcons had just 70 yards, trailing the Red Riders’ 97.

The script completely flipped after the break though, as Frankfort was able to hold on in the second-half shootout behind VanMeter’s fourth-quarter score (he ended with five carries for 42 yards) to improve to 2-0 on the young campaign.

Weir High returns home to challenge Linsly on Friday.

Frankfort 37, Weir High 26

Weir High 0 7 6 13 — 26

Frankfort 0 7 20 10 — 37

F — Jansen Moreland 2 run (Corey Brieloff kick), 9:20

W — Jayden Anderson 22 interception (Weir kick) 6:33

F — Parker VanMeter 7 run (Corey Brieloff kick) 8:24

F — Andy Westfall 39 run (kick failed) 3:46

W — Anthony DiMatteis 23 pass to Logan Reitter (kick failed) 2:06

F — Peyton Clark 86 kick return (Corey Brieloff kick) 1:53

F — Corey Brieloff field goal, 10:25

W — Justin Brueck 18 run (Weir kick) 8:22

W — Anthony DiMatteis 35 run (kick failed) 8:03

F — Parker VanMeter 20 run (Corey Brieloff kick) 3:10

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