High School Football: Frontier inspired to knock off Jamestown
While Tim Myslinski was telling his Frontier team the past is the past, last year’s lopsided loss to Jamestown was gnawing away at his inner core all week leading up to the team’s rematch.
So, he couldn’t be happier to see his team fight through an early deficit and then a back-and-forth affair between the two teams to pull out a 35-28 win on Friday (Sept. 28) on Homecoming weekend at Frontier.
Also inspired by a compelling pre-game motivational speech from George Privateer, a Vietnam veteran and former NFL player, who’s the father of defensive coordinator Mark Privateer, the Falcons scored the game-winning touchdown with under a minute to play, then held unbeaten Jamestown with quick-strike offensive ability from getting past midfield on the game’s final drive.
“It was eating at me all week and I was hungry all week and the kids noticed and they plugged and did everything we asked to get this win,” said Myslinski, whose team has won three of the past four games in impressive fashion after opening the season with a lopsided loss at West Seneca West. “That’s a heck of a Jamestown team and it was like a ping-pong match.”
“For (Coach Privateer Sr.) to tell a story that he never told before, it was so poignant and I think all of our kids also rallied behind it so much,” he added. “We always say we’ve got to play as a team, and be united. I think that story brought the team together.”
Kevin Hamilton was certainly inspired as the junior stepped in at fullback for injured classmate Kenny Kahler to run for 74 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to intercepting two Jamestown passes on defense. Hamilton scored on a 21-yard run with 54 seconds left in the contest to account for the game-winner.
“Our starting fullback went down and I had to step in the second half. Our lineman opened the holes and I got it done and did my job,” said Hamilton as he was arm-in-arm showing unity with quarterback Ben Koch. “It feels great, especially with it being our Homecoming game. You can’t go wrong. It’s perfect.”
Myslinski said his quarterback not only came through when called upon to throw the ball more than usual, but also helped Hamilton make some big plays in the option offense. Koch threw for 219 yards, hitting 14 of 19 passes, with two touchdowns.
“Kevin’s the second kid for us and this is high school, so he doesn’t have all of this time to get reps (as a fullback) and is getting limited reps, but I think having Ben as quarterback helped to compose Kevin,” said Myslinski, who noted that Hamilton was the starting fullback on junior varsity last year. “He ran the first couple a little tight and Ben said, ‘OK let’s get you a little wider.’ Ben read the outside “veer” correctly and it worked.”
Koch answered each of the first three Jamestown scores with a touchdown pass. He hit AJ Licata from one yard out to make it 7-7, found Elijiah Ricks on an 18-yard play to even the score at 14-14 in the third and fired an 18-yard score to Ricky Fitzgerald later in the quarter.
Hamilton opened the fourth quarter scoring, rumbling for a 26-yard touchdown to give Frontier it’s first lead of the game. Jamestown delivered its own answer to tie the game 28-28, before the Falcons drove down the field for the game-winning score.
“We were down at halftime (14-7), but we came out, forgot about everything, and our offense did what we had to do and the defense did a heck of a job,” Koch said.
Dequan Hollingsworth had staked Jamestown to leads three times in the game, busting highlight reel touchdown runs of 69, 25 and 71 yards. Senior linebacker Nick King led Frontier with 13 tackles.
“Our defense is predicated on attack and sometimes when you do attack, you expose yourself to the big play,” Myslinski noted.
Koch also added 40 yards rushing on eight carries. His main target through the air on the evening was the tall and athletic Fitzgerald, who finished with eight catches for 139 yards.
“At times, we were really passing the ball, and we’re not a passing team. We like to think we can. When you’re put in a game like that, you wonder can we really rise to the challenge and we did,” said Myslinski who noted that Kahler may have a sprained knee but shouldn’t miss much time.
Even as Frontier improved to 2-2 in Class AA South, the Falcons will probably need to win at home against Lancaster on Friday (Oct. 5) to secure one of four divisional playoff berths.
Under first-year coach Chris Dickson, Lancaster is 0-4 in the division but played defending state champion Orchard Park to a tough 34-24 game last week and lost to Clarence on the game’s final drive.
“That’s going to be a tough game,” Myslinski said. “We know their staff over there and Chris is a heck of a coach. I have the ultimate respect for that program.”