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Ware stops Frontier football, 27-8

SOUTH DEERFIELD — There was a small fireworks display put on by a house neighboring Frontier Regional following the football game on Friday night.

Unfortunately for the Red Hawks, there were no fireworks on the field, as the hosts managed 80 yards of total offense in a 27-8 independent loss to Ware.

Zerrod McCoy rushed for four touchdowns, collecting one score in every quarter, and Ware (6-3) wrapped up the fourth and final berth in the western Massachusetts Division 4 tournament.

Frontier’s defense was missing two key players to injury and the Ware rushing attack made them pay with 179 yards rushing on 37 carries. Poor tackling aided Ware’s offense.

“I don’t know where that’s coming from, it’s like they’re not being coached,” Frontier coach Scott Dredge said of the tackling. “And it hurts not having Charlie (Tirrell) and Chris (Toomey). They are significant factors.”

Tirrell is out with a leg injury but may play on Thanksgiving eve when Frontier travels to Buckland for its rivalry game against Mohawk Regional. Toomey started Friday, but left in the second quarter when he re-aggravated a nagging shoulder injury.

A 9-yard punt by kicker Brandon Bryant set up Ware for its first possession at the Frontier 38. The Indians converted on a third-and-13 on the drive when quarterback Andrew Koczur (3 of 7, 54 yards passing) found Doug Pulcherpek for a 22-yard gain. McCoy finished it off with a 5-yard scoring run for a 6-0 lead with 1 minute, 44 seconds left in the first quarter.

Frontier (2-7) answered in the second quarter when it took over just before the midway point. The Red Hawks went on a 12-play, 53-yard drive in which Toomey rushed for 16 yards, Jack Hebert rushed for 13 yards and quarterback Rylan Baronas finished it off with a 6-yard scoring run with 2:27 left. Baronas then hit Oliver Fox with the conversion pass for an 8-6 Frontier lead.

That lead didn’t last long. Koczur had three rushes for 48 yards on the ensuing Ware drive that began at its own 20, and ended with McCoy’s 4-yard touchdown run with 12.4 seconds to go before halftime.

The Hawks took the opening kick of the second half and on the third play of the drive, Baronas threw a pass over the middle that Ware linebacker Nick Kulig picked off with one hand. After the Ware drive stalled, Frontier took over at its own 15 and moved the ball to the 30 before being forced to punt. The snap on the punt attempt was well offline and Ware took over at the Frontier 9. Two plays later McCoy scored from 3 yards out. Dredge said that the inconsistent play by the offense has been a theme.

“That’s kind of been our season,” he said. “We look great one series or two, and then we’ll shoot ourselves in the foot.”

Dredge made a move at quarterback late in the game when he inserted sophomore Oliver Fox in a wildcat-style set.

“It’s something new,” Dredge said. “We’ve been working on it, because we need some type of alternative, and you know, we’ve got to start looking toward next season.”

Ware added one more score on a McCoy 8-yard run with 1:18 left.

Matt Ackerman led the Frontier with 27 rushing yards, while Jack Hebert added 21.

Note: The game was delayed for 20 minutes with 1:10 remaining in the fourth quarter when Frontier senior Austin Allaire went down with a broken leg. Allaire is in his first year playing football and plays primarily on special teams. He left in an ambulance.

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