ZANESVILLE - Fort Frye scored 20 unanswered second-half points en route to a dramatic 34-28 come-from-behind triumph over host Rosecrans at John D. Sulsberger Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
With the victory, the Ohio Division 5, Region 17, eighth-ranked Cadets (8-2 overall) clinched their first playoff berth since 2000. They are scheduled to play at undefeated and Region 17, top-ranked Kirtland (10-0) at 7 p.m. Saturday night.
"We're pretty happy," said Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck, who's also guided the Cadets to a share of the 2012 Pioneer Valley Conference crown (with Monroe Central and River). "This has been one season we will certainly not forget."
Photo by Pam Brooker
Chandler Lang's 129 yards on 10 carries and two touchdowns led Fort Frye. Max Alsbach, who scored the winning TD from a yard out with 1:48 left on the clock, added 102 yards on 13 attempts. Spencer Lang chipped in with 46 rushing yards and 30 receiving yards and two TD receptions.
Tyser Shilling contributed three catches for 36 yards.
Rosecrans left the door open for a comeback with self-inflicted wounds in the second half, and the determined Cadets, needing a win to make the playoffs, were more than willing to storm through it.
Fort Frye 34, Rosecrans 28
Fort Frye 0 7 13 14 - 34
Rosecrans 0 7 21 0 - 28
FF: Spencer Lang, 14 pass from Chandler Lang (Chandler Lang kick), 7:30
R: Thacker, 23 pass from Cronin (MacLean kick), 3:13
R: Lanning, 2 run (MacLean kick), 11:11
FF: Chandler Lang, 70 run (Lang kick), 10:40
R: Cronin, 5 run (MacLean kick), 7:18
R: Thacker, 37 pass from Cronin (MacLean kick), 3:14
FF: Chandler Lang, 1 run (kick no good), :34
FF: Spencer Lang, 7 pass from Chandler Lang (Justin Massey pass from Chandler Lang), 11:37
FF: Max Alsbach, 1 run (kick no good), 1:48
Fort Frye - first downs 12, rushes/yds 36/276, passing yds 75, total yds 351, fumb/lost 1/1, pen/yds 7/71, punts/avg 6/33.5
Rosecrans - first downs 13, rushes/yds 40/210, passing yds 168, total yds 378, fumb/lost 1/1, pen/yds 10/94, punts/avg 4/40.2
Fort Frye - rushing: Chandler Lang 10-129-2TD, Max Alsbach 13-102-1TD, Spencer Lang 10-46; passing: Chandler Lang 7-17-75-2TD-1INT; receiving: Tyser Shilling 3-36, Spencer Lang 3-30-2TD
Rosecrans - rushing: Cronin 18-82-1TD, Williams 7-46, Lanning 9-54-1TD; passing: Cronin 8-16-2TD-2INT; receiving: Thacker 6-130-2TD
Next game: Fort Fyre at Kirtland (playoffs) at 7 p.m. Saturday
The short-handed Bishops - playing a second consecutive game without All-Ohio tailback Luke Lloyd - let a 14-point, second-half lead slip away, as the visiting Cadets took advantage of 16 penalties and a late turnover to earn a 34-28 win at John D. Sulsberger Memorial Stadium.
Rosecrans (7-3) still will play host to a Division VI Region 23 playoff game on Friday against Willow Wood Symmes Valley. The game will be played at Maysville High School.
Rosecrans coach Scott Moyer, whose team had a 378-351 edge in total yards and forced two turnovers, lamented the costly mistakes and leg injury to Chase Lanning, who was hurt on the Bishops' second drive of the third quarter.
Lanning, a linebacker who leads the team in tackles, didn't return.
"We were up 28-14 and didn't put them away," Moyer said. "Losing Lanning in the second half on defense killed us."
Rosecrans had leads of 14-7 and 28-14 in the third quarter. But the Cadets scored the game's final 20 points, as the Bishops were haunted by Lanning's loss and 13 penalties after halftime.
Fort tied the game at 28 on Chandler Lang's seven-yard scoring toss to Spencer Lang on third-and-goal, and the ensuing two-point conversion pass to Justin Massey,
Massey then intercepted a pass, his second of the contest, near the Cadets' own goal-line, and the Fort offense started the ensuing drive at its own nine-yard line.
They responded with a 10-play drive, fueled by Alspach's 43-yard run on third-and-one, and finally took the lead for good when Alspach plowed in on third-and-goal from the one with 1:48 to play. A bad snap led to a failed extra-point pass, as the Cadets led 34-28.
Rosecrans had one last shot.
With sophomore Adrick Cronin at the controls, he hit Thomas Thacker with completions of 17 and 12 yards on consecutive plays to give the Bishops possession at the the Cadets' 27 with 1:13 to play. But a motion penalty led to a fourth-and-long from the 26 with 15 seconds left.
Cronin rolled to his left and lobbed a pass toward the end zone, and Thacker appeared to corral the pass inside the five, but the ball was dislodged on a hard hit. The Cadets ran out the clock.
"We fought until the end," Moyer said. "We had a play ready at the end, but we didn't get that chance. I feel bad for my seniors because I know they left it all out there tonight."
Rosecrans trailed 7-0 in the second quarter but tied the game when a scrambling Cronin hit Thacker with a 23-yard scoring toss to tie the game with 2:40 left before halftime.
The Bishops took that momentum into the second half, as Parker Moore recovered a fumbled kickoff to set up Lanning's 2-yard scoring run to give the Bishops a 14-7 lead.
The Cadets then tied the game less than a minute later when Chandler Lang rolled to his right, broke a pair of tackles, and sprinted 70 yards to the end zone.
But Rosecrans responded with drives of 58 and 88 yards to tie the game, as Cronin ran for a TD and Thacker took a handoff 37 yards for another score to make it 28-14 with 3:06 left in the third quarter.
That's when it got away from Rosecrans.
The Bishops committed seven penalties in the next four minutes, including four 15-yarders. The final one, after the Cadets recovered an onside kick, led to Chandler Lang's game-tying touchdown pass.
Cronin completed 14 of 20 passes for 215 yards and ran 22 times for 96 yards, while Thacker caught eight passes for 143 yards with a pair of TDs.
Marietta Times sports editor Ron Johnston contributed to this report.