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Morning Sun
  • Girard squeaks by Frontenac, 7-6

  • After his Trojans squeaked out a 7-6 victory over Frontenac Thursday night, Girard head coach Leon Miller was shaking hands with fans and said to one: “Now that it’s over, that was a fun game.”



    It may have been more fun for Miller and Girard this year, avenging a 7-6 loss to the Raiders in Girard on Homecoming night last year, and also taking the district crown.

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  • After his Trojans squeaked out a 7-6 victory over Frontenac Thursday night, Girard head coach Leon Miller was shaking hands with fans and said to one: “Now that it’s over, that was a fun game.”
    It may have been more fun for Miller and Girard this year, avenging a 7-6 loss to the Raiders in Girard on Homecoming night last year, and also taking the district crown.
    The game hinged on the first drive of the night for Girard and the last drive of the night for Frontenac.
    Behind 7-0 deep in the fourth quarter, the Raiders got the ball back with 1:38 in the game on the Trojan 28.
    On first down, the Raiders pulled a familiar trick. Earlier, on the first offensive play of the game for the Raiders, Frontenac had tried a halfback pass by Bryce Burdette (who played both offense and defense for the first time all season after returning from broken toes) that fell just incomplete. Opening this last drive, the Raiders pulled the same play, but this time Burdette hit Matt Standlee in stride for the late touchdown.
    Coach Mark Smith decided to gamble for the win, telling his team to go for the two-point conversion. But the pass from Keith to Blake Vail was too high.
    “I thought about that the whole fourth quarter,” said Frontenac head coach Mark Smith. “I thought that if we scored a touchdown, we would go for two. Maybe it’s a young coach making a dumb mistake. We had the play, we just didn’t connect. Maybe if we’d gone to overtime, we could have won.”
    Miller was a bit surprised by Smith’s decision, though he had faced a similar situation last year, in which Independence scored a late touchdown and made the two to beat the Trojans by one in 2011.
    “To be honest, after the game I told Mark that I thought it was a gutsy call. It was a great call,” Miller said. “If I’d been in his position, I’m not sure I would have made the same call.”
    Tyler Gray recovered the onside kick to clinch the game for Girard.
    The first quarter started out good for the Trojans, but then turned devastating.
    On the third play from scrimmage on their first drive, Brayden Johnson hit tight end Trenton Stolte on a corner route for 20 yards and a first down. It would be the only pass the Trojans completed all game.
    Two plays later, it was touted senior running back Anthony Scholes who burst through the left side of the offensive line, cutting back through the Frontenac defense at the 10 for a 41-yard touchdown just 2:28 into the game. That was the good news for the Trojans.
    Page 2 of 3 - The bad news was that on the next Trojan offensive possession, Scholes took the ball on a similar play to the touchdown and was hit in the lower leg by Frontenac’s Blake Barto. Scholes left the game with an injury and did not return. The Girard offense would be held punchless for the rest of the game, making only one first down after Scholes was injured.
    The Raiders had chances of their own in the first half, but could not capitalize.
    For instance, early in the second quarter, the Raiders managed a fourth and one from the Girard 38. But a Jace Burdette plunge was stuffed by the Trojans, who took over on downs.
    The next drive also seemed promising for the Raiders, who moved to the Trojan 16 before a holding call and a false start brought up a fourth and 17 from the 32. A reverse to Taylor Johnson had some space on the left side, but Johnson ran into his own blocker and was tackled before he could get the first down.
    The opening drive of the second half was as promising for the Raiders as the opening drive of the first half was for the Trojans. Girard got a heavy dose of running back Bryce Burdette, who gained 34 yards on three straight carries, pushing the ball down to a goal line situation. But on second down, Burdette was racing to the left and lost the ball as he was tackled. The ball was recovered by the Trojans to keep points off the board.
    The Raiders eventually got the ball back after a bad punt, and Keith hit Ethan Powell on a deflected screen pass for 18 yards. On the next play, Keith attempted a pass to Blake Vail on a double move, but Girard’s Brayden Johnson was not fooled, and intercepted the pass for a touchback.
    The Trojan offense stalled and the punt came. But the snap was dropped, and the punter was tackled for a loss of 12 to set up great field position for the Raiders from the Trojan 26.
    The Trojan defense again stepped up, forcing two fourth and three plays for the Raiders. After two Frontenac timeouts, Devon Keith ran the ball to the right for a nine-yard gain down to the Trojan 10 to convert the first. But the second, a Burdette pitch to the right from the Trojan 3, was met by a host of Trojans at the 2, stopped well before the end zone.
    The Raiders’ defense prevented the Trojans from getting a first down in the shadow of their own end zone, setting up the late-game drama.
    Girard (8-1, 6-0 CNC) wins the district title, and Frontenac (5-4, 3-4 CNC) takes second in the district, traveling to Coffeyville in next Tuesday’s playoffs. Girard will host Columbus on Tuesday.
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