Road to the Ralph
Fredonia (7-0) begins its quest for a Section 6 Class C football title tonight at the Orange Bowl against the Tonawanda Warriors (3-4).
“I’ve seen a few films on them,” Fredonia head coach Mike Marshall said. “They have a passing attack and a running attack. They have a wide receiver that they put at many positions and he seems to catch anything they throw at him. And they have a running back that seems to get through the line and seems pretty quick.”
The receiver Marshall was talking about is Brandon Frye, a 5-foot-11-inch junior while the running back is 5-9 senior Tim Barnard.
“The way they put (Frye) in different positions, we’re going to have to pay attention to (him),” Marshall said. “Their passing attack is pretty well-balanced, along with their running attack.”
Aside from a 28-21 win over Southwestern earlier in the season, the Hillbillies have yet to be tested, thanks in large part to a balanced offense of their own, which has been led by junior running back Matt McCarthy and senior quarterback Weston Ley. And with weather and field conditions not looking to be the best tonight at the Orange Bowl, Marshall will look to those two, as he has all season, to help lead the way to the team’s eighth, and most important win, of the season.
“It could be a grind-it-up-the-middle kind of game if we have to,” Marshall said. “And with field conditions like I’m anticipating, having McCarthy and Ley back there is a pretty good tandem to have.”
Unlike 2011, when Dunkirk made Karl Hoeppner Field and its brand new turf field available to Fredonia, the Hillbillies and the Warriors will have to deal with a field that is as wet as it will be muddy.
Marshall wasn’t too disappointed however, as he likes the idea of his team defending its own home field.
“One of the advantages we do have is playing at home,” Marshall said. “It’s been (the players’) field since they were (playing in midgets) and I do believe that will play to our advantage. We played one game on turf, the rest were on grass.
“The weather and the field conditions are going to play a roll in the outcome of the game,” Marshall added. “Playing in the Orange Bowl is always a challenge in this kind of weather. It’s kind of a clay field, so it gets kind of slippery. We’re going to have to be sure-footed to be successful.”
Over the last half of the season, the Hillbillies have worked on their passing game, but Marshall knows the condition of the field could impede Ley’s ability to connect with his receivers.
“You have to be worried about the way we cut and the way we pass in this kind of weather,” Marshall said. “But I think we’ll be able to do some modifying to our offense and move the ball like we have in the past.
“So far this season, we’ve been lucky enough not to have too many turnovers,” Marshall added. “We’re going to have to play mistake-free football if we want to go on.”