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Frontenac Ends Holton Season in Semifinals
By Justin Fluke
Copyright: MSC Sports
11/20/2021

Frontenac 32, Holton 13

Trailing 7-6 at halftime, the Frontenac Raiders made all the right calls and plays at the perfect time, scoring touchdowns on four straight possessions to advance to state and end Holton's perfect season. A few trick plays and a couple big plays, combined with the Wildcats missing some key open field tackles and a few needed blocks, gave and allowed Frontenac to maintain all momentum during a 26-6 second half and beat Holton for the second time in five tries. The Raiders experienced and huge senior line was able to control the line and middle of the field as Frontenac advanced to the 3A title game in Hutchinson for the first time since 2017 where they will face Andale. 

Maybe it was a sign when the opening kickoff ricocheted off a Holton up-man and was recovered by the home team in black. Yet, the Raiders couldn't capitilize as Charlie Gilliland forced a fumble inside the Wildcat 35-yard-line. Holton got a 40-yard-run by Garyson Booth on their first drive, but it turned out to be the only run of more than 13 yards all night and the Cats couldn't convert on fourth down and six. Holton did force a three-and-out and then went 58 yards in 14 plays before Booth scored on a fantastic seven-yard TD run, somehow getting away from two Raider defenders to open the scoring early in the second quarter. 

Frontenac responded on their ensuing drive by converting twice on fourth down, including a 17-yard halfback pass before Justice Compton scored on a two-yard-run. The kick failed with 1:46 remaining in the half. One of a couple mishandled kick returns coupled with a penalty backed up Holton at their own eight and they had to punt from their endzone, but Frontenac missed a 28-yard field goal just before intermission. The Raiders didn't miss anything in the final two quarters as they converted a pair of third downs on the opening drive of the third quarter and then when to the bag of tricks facing adversity when Mario Menghini scored on a 17-yard reverse play in a goal-to-go situation to give Frontenac the lead for good at 12-7. 

The Holton offense suffered their second straight three-and-out and two plays later, Collin McCartney found Menghini on a 68-yard touchdown strike after a missed tackle near the line of scrimmage to make it 18-6. The Wildcats got some life back as Matt Lierz returned the following quick off 77 yards to the two and Jayden Fletcher ran in a score to pull within 18-13. However, just three plays later, McCartney and Menghini hooked up on another 68-yard TD toss on a third down and eight with an out and up route that made it 24-13 with 32 seconds left in the period. Another fourth down conversion set up a four-yard run by Compton for the final score of the game with 6:02 to play.

Frontenac had 385 total yards with 198 passing on a couple big plays and 187 rushing yards including 87 for Compton. Menghini, one of only three non-senior starters for the Raiders ended up with 168 yards receiving and 50 rushing with three scores all in the decisive third quarter. Frontenac is 10-2 and now has a record of 8-2 in sub state games. 

Holton finished with 232 yards but got more than 65 on their final drive running 11 plays before the game ended. The Cats gained 185 yards rushing with Booth having 72, Fletcher and Jace Boswell each adding 41 yards on the ground. The Cats finish the year 11-1 and runner-up in sub state for the second straight season. 

Holton started 11-0 for the first time since 2013 and won their initial Big 7 title for the first time since 2014 but fell just short of getting back to a state contest for the first time since 2015. The Wildcats lost 11 seniors, 8 of which were key pieces for a defense that had pitched two impressive playoff shutouts and allowed just 10 points per game. Holton will return their entire junior backfield with all four backs posting more than 650 yards this season as well as their top receiving tight end and three starting lineman.   


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Hiawatha, KS 66434
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