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Frontier Regional holds off Mohawk for pre-Thanksgiving victory

BUCKLAND — Frontier Regional defensive back Oliver Fox needed his whole 5-foot-5, 135-pound frame Wednesday night.

Fox batted away with his fingertips a potential game-tying 2-point conversion pass with 2 minutes, 43 seconds left and the Red Hawks held on for an 8-6 Intercounty League victory in the schools’ annual Thanksgiving eve game at Pollard Field.

Mohawk quarterback Alex Buntin rolled to his right on the conversion attempt and had Connor Maloney and Andrew Doty in the right corner of the end zone. Buntin’s pass seemed destined for Maloney’s mitts before Fox got his fingertips on the ball to secure the Hawks’ win.

“He got his hand up last minute,” Frontier coach Scott Dredge said. “I’m glad he got it, too, because it was a little redemption for himself after getting burned a few times on that drive.”

Frontier (3-7, 2-6) grabbed the lead late in the second quarter and it came on the broad shoulders of senior running back Chris Toomey, who entered the game with a team-leading 375 yards rushing but had been hampered by a shoulder injury. There was little sign of any injury against the Warriors, as he rushed for 82 yards on 15 carries.

The Hawks were facing third-and-8 from the Mohawk 22-yard line on the 12th play of a drive that started at their own 22. Toomey took the handoff and went up the middle virtually untouched as he ran 22 yards to the end zone for the game’s first touchdown with 50. 3 seconds left. Frontier quarterback Rylan Baronas (10 carries, 36 yards) ran in the 2-point conversion for the 8-0 lead.

“When Coach said (the play) 36-power, my head started rushing and I was nervous as hell but I trusted my linemen,” Toomey said. “They were great tonight and I got in.”

The Red Hawks carried that lead into the fourth quarter, but Mohawk (3-7, 2-6) drove 88 yards in just over three minutes to score. On the drive, Buntin (8 for 15, 102 yards) went 4 for 4 for 61 yards, including back-to-back completions to Ryan Pease which netted the Warriors 30 yards. The second completion to Pease set Mohawk up with a first-and-goal from the 4, and running back Doty needed just one try to run around the left end and walk into the end zone untouched with 2:43 left to play.

After the conversion fell short, Mohawk attempted an onsides kick, but Frontier freshman Justin Farrick fell on the ball. Mohawk used its final two timeouts and when Frontier stared at a third-and-5 from the Mohawk 45, Toomey got hit at the line but bulled his way to the first down to end the game.

The performance earned Toomey the Tim Dash Memorial Award as the most valuable player for Frontier. Buntin picked up the Mike Gaffigan Award as the MVP for Mohawk.

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