FRANKFORT — During the 2011 season, Frankfort enjoyed a 44-30 win over Hanover. Then, a drought began.
Frankfort faced Hanover 10 times between the 2012 and 2020 campaigns; all 10 times, Frankfort walked off the field with a loss.
Friday, Frankfort finally got back in the win column against its Twin Valley League rival, cruising to a 48-8 victory at home.
Anderson did say he expected a closer game, and it benefited his team that Hanover was missing key players.
“I was expecting a closer game,” said Frankfort head coach Nick Anderson, who beat Hanover for the first time in seven tries. “(Hanover) is beat up. They have all kinds of injuries, and they lost their quarterback before halftime. That kind of deflated them a little bit. The kids (Hanover) put in continued to fight and they have nothing to hang their heads about.”
Hanover received the ball on the game’s opening possession, but Frankfort (5-1) quickly took over, intercepting a pass on the first play from scrimmage.
Frankfort dominated with its ground game, finishing with 381 yards. Freshman quarterback Ty Smith accounted for the lion’s share of the yardage, carrying 31 times for 223 yards and four touchdowns.
It was too much for Hanover’s (3-3) defense too handle on this night. On Smith’s fourth rush of the team’s first drive, he found the end zone on a 10-yard rush. Despite a failed two-point conversion, Franked led 6-0.
Anderson said the interception set the tenor for the rest of the game.
“That was huge,” Anderson said. “Any time we get the momentum and confidence early, that is huge.”
After the hosts’ opening scoring drive, Hanover went three-and-out.
Frankfort (5-1) got the ball to begin its next offensive drive at its own 35-yard line. It only took the home team three plays to reach the end zone again. Smith started the drive with run to Hanover’s 5-yard line. After another play got the ball to the 1-yard line, Smith finished the drive by getting the last yard on a rush up the middle for a 12-0 lead; the two-point conversion failed again.
Hanover did not back down despite the strong start from Frankfort, though.
On the second play of the visitor’s possession, Emmitt Jueneman broke free down the sideline for a 45-yard rushing touchdown. A successful two-point conversion trimmed Frankfort’s lead to 12-8.
“We had a guy who went into a run gap, and they happened to run right where we made our mistake,” Anderson said. “Emmitt is one of the best athletes in this area. If you give him an open gap, he is going to score every time.”
Anderson said it was frustrating to build a two-possession lead but only be up by four.
“It was super frustrating,” Anderson said with a chuckle. “For the most part, we have been really good on our two-point conversions all year. We just had an opportunity on a pass play in the corner and just overthrew it. It is very frustrating, because we typically are not that bad (on two-point conversions).”
The was the last big play — let alone scoring play — Hanover mustered, though.
And Frankfort’s offense didn’t slow down.
Frankfort’s next scoring drive included two fourth-down conversions. The first came on a fourth-and-8 at Hanover’s 22-yard line, and the second was the touchdown score from the 1-yard line, on a rush from senior quarterback Ethan Armstrong. Frankfort converted its two-point conversion for the 20-8 lead.
The Wildcats’ next touchdown came on a short field, as Hanover turned over the ball on downs.
At the 10-yard line, the hosts ran a quarterback option play to the right and Smith found an opening, broke a few tackles and dissected Hanover’s defense for a rushing touchdown. The hosts extended the lead to 26-8.
That also doubled as the halftime score.
On the Wildcats’ second offensive drive of the second half, Smith tossed an interception.
But Frankfort’s defense did not allow the visitors to capitalize off the turnover.
Smith got the offense going again on a 38-yard touchdown rush, good for a 32-8 lead. Sophomore Brock Armstrong extended the advantage to 40-8 on a 16-yard rushing touchdown. Freshman tight end Jett Keller capped the explosive offensive performance with a 43-yard rushing touchdown with 1:06 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Anderson said Friday will be good for his team’s confidence going forward, as it bounced back after last week’s lopsided loss to Axtell, the top-ranked team in 8-Man Division II.
“We were down. We were not happy with the way we played against Axell,” Anderson said. “We were not perfect tonight, but morale is good. That was a big district win. If we take care of business, this gives us a No. 2 seed in our district. That is huge. This hopefully gives us a lot of confidence. It gives Ty some confidence and his teammates confidence in him he can get the job done.”
Anderson couldn’t have been more pleased with Smith’s showing.
“Considering what he had to go through this week and the pressure we put on him, I thought he did fantastic.” Anderson said. “He is a long way from being perfect. I probably did not do a very good job — I put him in some bad situations. For the most part, he kept his composure and kept fighting. He was great for us.”