Against a tough Frankfort squad Friday night, the Eminence Warriors took just their second loss of the season in an anticipated football matchup for the district title. But it was the best the Warriors’ defense had played all season despite the 30-0 loss, coach Steve Frommeyer said.
Offensively, on the other hand, the visiting Warriors struggled to move the ball and committed four costly turnovers which eventually led to Frankfort points. Frankfort was in front 7-0 at the half and cruised in for the shutout victory to improve to 7-1 and earn the top seed from Class A, District Four in the first round of the state playoffs next month. Eminence is now 7-2 overall and will be the No. 2 seed. Both will be at home in the playoffs Nov. 14 and favored to advance to the second round.
“I thought we played a great game, especially defensively,” Frommeyer said. “I was absolutely tickled to death with our defense’s performance. We knew they were heavy favorites — they have a very strong team. We played right with them, though.”
Coming into the game, which turned out to be for the district championship with both teams undefeated in district play this season, both teams had played Trimble and Gallatin counties so far this season to get a gauge of how this contest could play out. Eminence barely defeated Trimble (26-24) and Gallatin (28-21), while Frankfort blew past both teams — Trimble (56-6) and Gallatin (60-0). Also, Frankfort had defeated Western Hills (46-29), who defeated Henry County (38-34), who Eminence lost to (55-6).
On paper, it looked like Frankfort would run all over the Warriors, but that was not the case Friday night as both teams were held scoreless for nearly 20 minutes of play and Frankfort struggled to move the ball against Eminence’s solid defense. The Warriors managed to get the ball in the red zone twice during the first half but came up empty handed both times. During the second half, when Frankfort stretched out the score, Eminence was never in serious position to score.
“Our turnovers are what killed us,” Frommeyer said. “We just never really got in sync offensively. You turn the ball over, and you don’t get very many snaps and you leave the other team with good field position. Our defense played great but they were left in awful situations.”
The Warriors fumbled the ball three times and threw two interceptions. Frankfort took advantage of two Eminence fumbles during the third quarter, which resulted in touchdowns both times. Then, after two Eminence interceptions during the fourth quarter, Frankfort ended drives with a field goal and another touchdown.
Eminence held Frankfort to just 224 yards total offense, but could not keep Frankfort out of the end zone with the short field position the turnovers left.
For Eminence, Dre Banta was 5-of-16 passing for 52 yards with Ed Berry catching four of those passes for 40 yards. The Warriors finished with 132 total yards, with TJ Cooper leading the way with 11 carries for 80 yards.
It was the players on the defensive side of the ball that really shined for the Warriors, though. Linebacker Brad Tapia had a team-high eight tackles, Tihon Durrett had seven solo tackles, JaCoby Moore and Zach Raisor had six tackles each, and Chad Tapia and Byrone Foree had four tackles each. All of them played extremely well, Frommeyer said afterwards.
“Our players really enjoyed this game,” Frommeyer said. “We really came ready to play and we laid it all on the line.”
The Warriors final regular-season game will be this Monday against either North Hardin Christian or Beth Haven in the unofficial Kentucky State 8-Man Championship, which will be held at Georgetown College at 7:30 p.m. North Hardin and Beth Haven played Tuesday night with the winner moving on to the finals against Eminence.
After that 8-man showdown, the Warriors will have their eyes on the state playoffs. Last fall, Eminence advanced to the playoffs for the first time in school history and then lost to Frankfort in the first round (54-6), which shows how far the Warriors have come in a year. As the No. 2 seed from District Four, they will host the school’s first playoff game Nov. 14 against Ludlow — the No. 3 seed from District Three.
Ludlow has a 4-4 record with two games remaining.
“Coming in second in the district and qualifying to host a playoff game is a big accomplishment for us,” Frommeyer said. “We played hard against a quality opponent and never gave up.”
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