Greenfield edges Frontier Regional; Zach Bartak hurt for Green Wave
SOUTH DEERFIELD — The Frontier Regional football team could smell an upset Friday night even before Greenfield superstar quarterback Zach Bartak left injured midway through the fourth. But Bartak did just enough while he was in there to avoid the upset.
The Red Hawks rallied to within six after a 22-point deficit and got the ball back in the final minutes before running out of time and downs in a 28-22 loss.
Bartak, who took a number of jarring hits from a charged-up Red Hawks defense, left the game following a 17-yard pickup midway through the final quarter. Greenfield head coach Mike Kuchieski said his quarterback possibly suffered a concussion to go along with reaggravated knee and shoulder injuries.
Running back Garrett Hudson came on to take the snaps as Greenfield (8-0, 6-0 Intercounty) moved into Frontier territory before punting it away with three minutes, 26 seconds remaining.
Starting from their own 30, the Red Hawks (2-5, 1-5) picked up a pair of first downs and reached the Green Wave 43, but turned it over on downs after a fourth-down incompletion with about 30 seconds left.
Frontier rushed for over 200 yards and moved the ball as well as it had all season. Chris Toomey led the team with 114 yards on 19 attempts, while Charlie Tirrell added 61 on 10 carries, all in the second half.
“We played a really strong second half of football, and I’m really proud of how our kids hit on both sides of the ball,” Frontier coach Scott Dredge said. “We got the running game going and just played tough football. Chris and Charlie are two very tough kids and can pound the ball. That’s the brand of football we want to play.”
Before the injury, Bartak threw for 114 yards and a pair of touchdowns and rushed for 112 and another score. He did throw an interception after his pass was tipped at the line on the first play from scrimmage.
The tipping point of the game came late in the third quarter. Frontier had just cut the Greenfield lead to 22-14 and forced a fourth-and-11 from the Green Wave 44. Lined up to punt, Bartak took the snap, hesitated for a split second before taking off for a 33-yard pickup to the Frontier 23.
“Even though we had an idea that fake was coming he’s just so talented and made the play,” Dredge said. “That play really hurt, but there’s not much you can do. Bartak’s the key to everything, and he’s just an outstanding athlete.”
Three plays later, freshman Brayten Stack got open in the end zone and caught Bartak’s second touchdown toss from 20 yards out to expand the lead back to two touchdowns.
The Red Hawks responded four minutes later by capping an eight-play drive as Rylan Baronas lofted a three-yard touchdown pass to Ian Blight. When Charlie Tirrell barreled in the 2-pointer, Greenfield led by six with 7:01 left in regulation.
The teams exchanged turnovers on each squad’s first possession, then Hudson took a sweep around the right side and broke it for a 62-yard touchdown. The Green Wave also found the end zone on its next two possessions for a 22-0 lead.
But Baronas scored from 3 yards out with 2:16 left in the half to give the Red Hawks life at 22-6. Toomey’s 1-yard score with just over three minutes left in the third made it 22-14 and set up Bartak’s fake punt run.
On all five of their first-half possessions, the Red Hawks had excellent starting field position, including twice beginning in Greenfield territory. But they only came away with the one touchdown and turned the ball over twice on downs on the Green Wave’s side of the field.
“Early on we had a couple great chances in the red zone and couldn’t punch it in, that could have been the difference maker,” Dredge said.
Baronas finished 6-of-13 for 55 passing yards and the one touchdown pass. Brian Goodrich had three receptions for 29 yards.
The Frontier defense was led by defensive lineman Eric Rubio, who plugged up the middle on Bartak and Greenfield’s other runners.
Greenfield hosts Belchertown (8-0, 7-0) next Friday night in a showdown for the Intercounty League title and likely the top seed in Division 3.
Michael Wilkinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greenfield 28, Frontier Regional 22
Greenfield 16 6 6 0—28
Frontier 0 6 8 8—22
G-Garrett Hudson 62-yard run (Mike Lively pass from Zach Bartak), 7:12
G-Hudson 14 pass from Bartak (Hudson run), 0:15
G-Bartak 1 run (run failed), 4:32
F-Rylan Baronas 3 run (run failed), 2:16
F-Chris Toomey 1 run (Oliver Fox pass from Baronas), 3:16
G-Brayton Stack 20 pass from Bartak (run failed), 1:00
F-Ian Blight 3 pass from Baronas (Charlie Tirrell run), 7:01
PASSING-Greenfield: Bartak 7-15-114-1; Frontier: Baronas 6-13-55-0
RUSHING-Greenfield: Bartak 11-112, Hudson 6-73, Stack 4-5, York-Welcome 1-0; Frontier: Toomey 19-114, Tirrell 10-61, Baronas 8-12, Hebert 3-18, Talbot 1-3
RECEIVING-Greenfield: Lively 3-69, Hudson 3-25, Stack 1-20; Frontier: Goodrich 3-29, Simanski 1-21, Blight 1-3, Fox 1-2