A season unlike any other came to a disappointing end for the Frontier Falcons, falling 41-0 against Jamestown in the Section VI Class A Finals at Highmark Stadium on Friday night. The loss kept the Falcons from capturing their first Section VI title since 1984.
After relying heavily on the two-headed rushing attack of seniors Dylan Mack and Vinnie Monaco throughout the season, the Jamestown defense proved to just be a bit too much to handle. By the end of the night, Frontier was held to just 152 yards on the ground and 158 yards total. To make matters worse, Mack suffered a knee injury early and wasn’t the same after coming back into the game.
“I don’t think we played very well today and I think they played very well today,” Frontier head coach Rich Gray said. “At times, they dominated our offensive and defensive lines.”
It wasn’t the end result they wanted, but at 8-3 overall, the Falcons have nothing to hang their heads on after an improbable run to the Class A Finals. It was a season that showed what buying into a message means to any team, especially a team that had won just four games combined over the last two seasons.
“This has been one of the most impressive [group of] kids to coach,” Gray said. “They love football and they’re are some very good athletes in the group. They work hard, are fun to be around, and intense. It’s a pleasure to be their coach, it really is.”
As the game wore on, the leaders on the Falcons became overcome with emotion. Players were embracing each other, some with tears. It was sinking in that this was it for the 2021 season. One that won’t be forgotten any time soon. With 21 seniors graduating this year, Gray admits that though it’s tough to see them go, the young men left a mark that will never be forgotten at Frontier.
“They’ve set the bar so high at our school,” he said. “Academically; character wise. I’m blessed to be their coach and we’re going to miss them terribly.”
Despite the large number of departing seniors from the current team, Gray feels that the future is bright for a program that seems to be turning a corner as the 2020s get rolling.
“We’ll be young, but that’s every high school team,” he said. “You’re always going to lose some kids, that’s just the way it is. We feel very confident [because] our JV team was very successful and our modified team was.
“We’ll take a week off and then we’re back at it to start building the next team.”
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