By JUSTIN RAINS
For the Frankston football team, there is no longer any room for error.
The Indians (3-5, 2-2) welcome in Garrison Friday, in a game that they must win if they hope to make the playoffs for the third-straight season.
The Indians playoff picture was muddled last week when they lost to Winona, 50-31, leaving them firmly with their backs against the wall for the final two weeks of the season.
“Our kids are very resilient and the great thing about it is that we still hold our destiny,” FHS coach Matt Nally said. “We’re not trying to get some help from anybody else. We need to take care of business on Friday. We have to move on.”
Kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday at Jeff and Opal Austin Stadium (100 W. Perry St., Frankston, Texas 75763).
The situation is simple for Frankston: Win and stay alive. Wins over Garrison this week and West Rusk next will put the Indians into the playoffs.
But, a loss this week against Garrison could end Frankston’s playoff question. If Winona beats Union Grove, Winona is in and the Indians are out.
For a class of Frankston seniors that includes all-state players Tye Griffin and Dustin House, as well as star running back Caleb Williams, this will be the final home game. Nally said that that can only help in the Indians in this must-win game.
“It’s a huge thing,” he said. “We have such great support here and our kids are highly motivated when we get to play in front of the home stands. We’re fired up.”
Williams had his lowest output since Zero Week in the loss to Winona, rushing for only 73 yards on 16 carries.
Nally said that it wasn’t because Williams wasn’t successful running the ball, but rather that Winona forced Frankston into a scoring contest, making them throw the football.
Winona ran 28 more plays than the Indians, and its first scoring-drive along took seven minutes off of the clock.
“They’re a good football team on both sides. They’re in a situation where if they win they clinch, so any football coach or team, that’s a special thing. We just have to know that we have to take care of it and let the chips fall where they may.”
“Winona kept the ball from us and that was a very good game-plan. They ran 28 more plays than we did and forced us into a situation where we had to get into a scoring contest with them.”
“Offensively, we could do what we wanted to do, but at the end of the game we got into a situation where we had to score,” Nally said. “That’s why Caleb only ended up having 16 carries. They did a great job of keeping us off the field.”
But, just because that’s what worked for Winona, Nally doesn’t think that Garrison will duplicate it.
He compared the Garrison offense to the Indians, not built for long, time-consuming drives, but rather big, explosive plays.
“Garrison spreads it and is a tempo team just like we are,” Nally said. “I don’t think they’ll change that philosophy. It could be a high-scoring event.”
Sports editor Justin Rains can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org