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The Eminence Warriors' football season came to a screeching halt Friday night in the opening round of the state playoffs when they took a 54-6 loss to Frankfort High School. The lopsided game ended the Warriors' 2007 campaign at 6-6 and advanced the Panthers to second-round action against Trimble County this Friday night.
Eminence moved the football for 300 yards, including 269 yards on the ground, but Frankfort proved why theyre the second ranked team in Class A. The Panthers, who ended regular-season play with an 8-2 record, had no turnovers, committed few errors and came away with the convincing 48-point win.
"Frankfort has tremendous team speed ... not just one or two players but the entire team," Eminence coach Steve Frommeyer said of the speedy Panthers. "It just makes it really hard to stop them play in, play out. But I thought we did really well with running the football ourselves. There were runs that would usually be touchdowns for us, but against Frankfort they turned into 15-yard carries instead."
When the two teams played during the regular season, Frankfort turned the ball over numerous times early in the game, which allowed the score to be close at the half (7-0 Frankfort). The Panthers regrouped in the second half and went on to win, 37-8.
This time around, playing at Frankfort and in the playoffs, the Panthers made sure to control the ball from the opening kickoff. Eminence, on the other hand, had nine penalties and six turnovers - three interceptions and three fumbles.
It was an interesting game because Frankfort didn't turn the ball over or commit many penalties like the first time we played them, and we did," Frommeyer explained. "We were able to keep the game close the first time, but not this time.
"I think we're one of the few teams to move the ball for over 300 yards against Frankfort this season, but we just turned it over too much and made mistakes on crucial plays," Frommeyer added. "Our offense played one of its best games we've played all year, so to score only six points was obviously disappointing."
Frankfort's speedy players in the secondary forced Eminence to keep the ball on the ground, which the Warriors did. Freshman quarterback Dre Banta was 2-of-12 passing for 31 yards, while senior Nelson Hedges carried the ball 17 times for 129 yards. Senior teammate Isiah Durrett had 11 carries for 72 yards and sophomore TJ Cooper added eight carries for 72.
"Our players were really excited about playing," Frommeyer said. "We had a good week of practice. However, I think we were a little nervous in the beginning of the game. I was extremely proud of some of our seniors. Hedges and Durrett both ran the ball hard against a really good defense, Coletin Rapier had his best blocking game and Nathan Hall played a great game on defense."
Other seniors included Sydney Armstrong, Trevor Davis and Ryan Paris.
Frankfort went ahead 32-6 following the first half. Eminence's lone touchdown came during the second quarter when Hedges ran the ball 42 yards into the end zone. The two-point conversion failed, which left Eminence with only six points in the game.
After years of playing eight-man football, including state titles and national championships, the Warriors made the switch to the 11-man, district-playoffs format this season. Eminence made it to the post-season by defeating Bracken County (40-0) midseason, which sealed the fourth and final Class A, District Four spot in the playoffs. But Eminence ran into a road block in the opening round, halted by the Panthers.
"Of course, it was a big adjustment for us with a tougher schedule and playing a higher level of opponents came in, game out," Frommeyer said. "But we made a big jump by making the change, and we learned a lot. I think we will be in much better shape to handle the competition next year.
"I was extremely proud of our kids and the way they've come together as a team this season," an upbeat Frommeyer added. "The character development was probably as significant as any team I've coached in a long time. I told our kids after the game that I hated that we lost because we can't advance in playoffs, but I hated that we lost even more because we can't practice again on Monday. I just loved working with this team."
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