BEVERLY - With three games left on its football slate, Fort Frye is fighting for its playoff life.
So is Caldwell.
At 7 p.m. Friday, the two Pioneer Valley Conference schools are scheduled to square off on the gridiron in Beverly.
Times file photo
Fort Frye quarterback Chandler Lang (11) runs for yardage against Monroe Central in a PVC game on Sept. 27. The Cadets are scheduled to host Caldwell Friday night.
A win by either enhances its chances of postseason play, while a loss, although not devastating, doesn't exactly help the cause.
"It's a big game," said Fort Frye head coach Eric Huck, whose Cadets are No. 7 in Division VI, Region 21 with a 6-1 overall record. "Then, on top of that, it's our homecoming game."
Josh Perkins-coached Caldwell is No. 6 in Division VII, Region 25 with a 5-2 mark.
Only the top 8 in each region get to extend its season.
Last year at the Noble County Fairgrounds, Fort Frye escaped with a dramatic 35-34 overtime triumph against Caldwell. If the Cadets' defense had not stopped the Redskins' two-point conversion attempt after a touchdown in the OT, the Beverly-based school's bid for a playoff berth might've been seriously hindered.
But as it was, the Fort was able to go on and become the only school in Washington County to advance to the postseason.
With many of the same people back, this year's game figures to be another close one.
"Caldwell is a very good football team," Huck said, "with a lot of good, young talent."
CHS, winners of three straight, is coming off a 36-13 triumph over visiting Frontier in a key PVC tilt last Friday night. The Redskins were led by quarterback Tanner Clark and Bricker Lori, who combined for 281 rushing yards and four touchdowns on 31 attempts.
"Caldwell does a lot of unique things," Huck said, "like using a stack formation, and hiking the ball to a running back. They'll also run the shotgun, and spread it out. Our defense is going to have to step up and play well."
Fort Frye is also coming off a big win, downing visiting Buckeye Trail 35-27 in a PVC game last Friday night. The victory was particularly satisfying because it came on the heels of five consecutive road games.
The Cadets were paced by quarterback Chandler Lang, who rushed for 145 yards and two TDs on 20 carries. He also passed for 106 yards and two scores to Terren Huck and Zach Prichard.
Colten Shuster added 109 rushing yards and one TD on 14 attempts.
"We did a nice job of running the ball out of a two-back set," Eric Huck said. "We also were able to spread the ball around to our skills people.
"We've been playing well, and we just need to continue to play well."
Notes: Fort Frye's only blemish on its record was a 48-20 loss to Monroe Central in Woodsfield in Week 5 of the 2013 campaign...After Caldwell, the Cadets play at Shenandoah Oct. 25 and host winless Rosecrans Nov. 1...Caldwell has a relatively easy slate as well, playing West Muskingum and Shenandoah, which are a combined 1-13.