Frankfort is in familiar territory being back in the playoffs for a fifth straight season and the 22nd time in program history.
The Falcons earned the No. 5 seed in the Class AA playoffs and will play host to No. 12 Nicholas County at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Short Gap.
The Falcons capped off a 9-1 regular season last week with an 18-point victory over Keyser. Frankfort’s only loss was in Week 6, when it fell 36-0 to Mountain Ridge (Md.), which finished its regular season undefeated. FHS responded to the loss with four straight wins to conclude the regular season, including a 41-20 statement win over North Marion in Week 10. The Huskies are the No. 6 seed in the Class AA playoffs.
Veteran Frankfort head coach Kevin Whiteman likes what he’s seen from his team, which he admits has surpassed expectations.
“Coming into the season, I thought maybe six wins, but they have surprised me,” Whiteman said. “They have worked hard and gelled well together. The biggest thing is that we play as a team and the kids do not care who gets the credit. That is the beauty of our team.”
The Falcons have battled the injury bug this season, especially key playmakers in the backfield.
Landen Kinser and Rocky Fontenot are sidelined for the remainder of this season and fullback Parker VanMeter is also battling injury.
In the win over the Golden Tornado, John Anderson stepped up in a big way, rushing for 200-plus yards and four touchdowns.
“We are teaching some kids new things and it will be difficult for us. Unfortunately, we are in the position we are in this season, but everybody has to deal with injuries,” Whiteman noted. “We will look at who we play and develop the best few plays we think we can do with the group we have.”
Whiteman knows inexperienced players will deal with jitters heading into the postseason matchup with the Grizzlies.
“I tell them they have worked hard and deserve the opportunity. They need to be able to embrace the opportunity,” Whiteman stated. “They need to learn everything quickly for what they need to do, then go out there and do it.”
Oddly enough, Frankfort and Nicholas County (7-3) are almost identical in points scored and allowed. The Falcons and Grizzlies have have both surrendered 153 points, while FHS has scored 367 to Nicholas’ 366.
“It will be a tough game,” Whiteman said. “They have some big boys and they are physical from the little I have seen. We will have our work cut out for us. It will be exciting. You cannot go by the seeds because we have been 14th and upset people. Crazy things happen in the playoffs.”
Whiteman believes for his team to win, it’ll have to stick to what’s made them successful throughout this season.
“We have to do what we do,” Whiteman noted. “Offensively, we have to utilize the play clock down to two seconds and be able to churn the clock. Also, we have to have long, sustained drives. Defensively, we have to limit their big plays.”
Whiteman is 9-8 over nine postseason appearances with the Falcons.
“We started talking with every team about how we wanted to have a winning season and be a playoff team. We need to drill that into our players’ heads and talk to them about the work that needs to be put in to be successful,” Whiteman stated. “The kids become hungry when you start having success. Then they want more success. It helps with the younger guys when you make the playoffs then they get to experience it. Then those guys work even harder to make it the following year.”