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Frankfort stays unbeaten, outlasts Spring Mills in OT, 21-20

Spring Mills quarterback Keon Padmore-Johnson looks for running room near the goal line against Frankfort. Photo by Greg Carey/WVMetroNews.com

 

SHORT GAP, W.Va. — It remains to be seen how long Frankfort can maintain its unbeaten season.

On Friday, however, the Class AA No. 3 Falcons recorded their best win of the season to date, making a defensive stand on a two-point conversion attempt in overtime to seal an exhilarating 21-20 victory over Class AAA No. 1 Spring Mills.

“These guys have the ability to be resilient and battle through adversity,” FHS head coach Kevin Whiteman said. “I’m very proud of them.”

Frankfort (4-0) never trailed in the contest at home, though it didn’t preserve the victory until the game’s final play.

After Peyton Clark scored his third touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run to put the Falcons up 21-14 in the extra session, the Cardinals (3-1) answered.

Chase Henson’s 4-yard TD run cut the SMHS deficit to 21-20. The Cardinals then lined up to go for two and the win, before Whiteman elected to call timeout.

Out of the break, Spring Mills quarterback Keon Padmore-Johnson fielded a shotgun snap and appeared as though he wanted to run, but was forced to throw a depseration pass under pressure. Frankfort’s Andrew Westfall knocked it down to seal the verdict.

“I give all the credit to my defensive coaches,” Whiteman said. “I just got in the huddle and said, ‘Give it all you have on one more play and let’s see if we can do this.’ But it was a great team effort. It was a huge win against a AAA team for us.”

SMHS head coach Josh Sims had no regret going for the win despite the play being unsuccessful.

“They were moving it on the ground on us. I was a little concerned with our guys getting a little tired, so at that point you have a chance to win by getting a couple yards and I think you go for it,” Sims said.

Frankfort lost a fumble in the red zone on the game’s opening series, but still managed to lead 7-0 at halftime on the strength of Clark’s 42-yard touchdown run 57 seconds into the second quarter.

The Cardinals were faced with a fourth-and-goal on the Falcons’ 4-yard line late in the second quarter and Padmore-Johnson’s pitch to Henson fell to the grass, resulting in a loss of 13 yards.

But Spring Mills pulled even on the first series of the second half as Henson finished off an eight play, 68-yard drive with a 1-yard TD run at the 8:52 mark of the third quarter.

Westfall answered with a 43-yard kickoff return and five plays later, Falcons’ quarterback Colton McTaggart found a streaking Clark down the seam for a 23-yard touchdown pass, giving FHS the 14-7 advantage with 5:48 to play in the third.

“It seemed like every time we got up tonight, we got hit right back in the mouth,” Sims said. “That’s one of those things where we have to do a better job squeezing down on the kickoff team.“

Padmore-Johnson’s 34-yard touchdown pass to Jacob McCarren allowed Spring Mills to tie it at 14 with 5:19 remaining in regulation.

But Westfall again came up with a long kickoff return, this one 46 yards to position Frankfort at the Cardinals’ 41 with 5:11 left.

The Falcons picked up a first down and got inside the 15, but Jansen Moreland was stopped at the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-1 with 1:18 remaining.

Spring Mills had a 20-plus yard pass play called back on a holding penalty, then failed to complete a long ball that looked promising in the air, helping to send the game into overtime.

The Cardinals had scored 162 total points over their first three games, including at least 52 in each contest.

“People want to bust on (our) Wing-T (offense),” Whiteman said, “but that ball control Wing-T had a big win tonight.”