ORANGE After his team was eliminated against Greenfield during their season opener last weekend, Mahar football coach Jim Woodward knew the Senators once again had their hands full against visiting Frontier.
Our assignment for the team this week was to maximize their intensity, Woodward said. Those guys always go a hundred kilometers an hour. After watching the Red Hawks movie from last week’s game against (Franklin) Tech, they just didn’t let it go, scoring twice in the fourth (quarter).
We matched them and they did what we asked of them.
While the senators maintained a six-point lead to enter the fourth quarter, Jake Dodge (24 rushing yards) recovered a loose ball near midfield to help the Red Hawks regain possession. Despite a quick five-yard win to start the drive, Josh Semaski (21 rushing yards) was stopped by Aydan Sevigny to score 4th and 6th.
At the next move, however, Frontier gave up one of his five sales to end a potential game-changing drive.
We just tried to mix it up, Woodward said of his team’s effort in the second half, and the defense was able to stop them.
Halfway through the next run, Mahar quarterback Noaha Chabot (seven of twelve for 129 yards and three touchdowns) made contact with teammate Eli Spencer for 25 yards. Moments later, Jacob Tenney (game-high 238 total attack yards) beat the defense with a one-handed grab down the left sideline with 3:14 left in regulation to seal the Senators a 20-8 win over Frontier at James S. Woodward Athletic Complex Friday evening.
Mahar not only improved to 1-1 in the season, but also defeated the Red Hawks for the first time since 2015. The Senators were also successful on a night honoring their 11 seniors in Colin Boyle, Jakob Carron, Jakob Murphy, Brian Skorb , Matt Lyesiuk, Luke Melanson, Jajay Miller, Tenney, Chabot, Spencer and Sevigny.
It means a lot during our senior year, Tenney said. All upperclassmen really got together tonight. This was a product of our off-season work. We also have to thank our linemen and our coaches for staying with us all year round.
And that is a product of all that combined.
When Frontier received the ball to start the game, Mahar quickly forced a fumble and recovered on the 42. Four plays later, Tenney cheated the opposition for a 12-yard sweep down the right. After Murphy’s seven-yard rush to put the senators just outside the red zone, a penalty quickly pushed them back.
That didn’t bother Mahar, however, as Chabot and Tenney ended the eight-play drive with a 16-yard pass for the opening score of the games. Then Spencer completed the two-point conversion with a successful corner route down the left to ensure the Senators had an early 8-0 lead with 5:56 left in the first.
There aren’t many guys in high school football who play plays like Jacob (Tenney), Woodward said of his star receiver. I would have liked him in this squad for at least 10 or 11 games, you know?
He doesn’t make many mistakes – he’s a great athlete.
However, on the ensuing kickoff, Dodge earned a 90-yard return to narrow the Red Hawks deficit to two points, as they failed to complete the two-point game after 16 minutes of action.
But just as the first quarter proved, Mahar was not going to make anything easy. After one of Frontiers’ three folds on downs near midfield, Chabot and Tenney seemed to be connected with a deep win down the right. But after further investigation it was considered incomplete.
A play later, however, the duo struck again. This time, it was for a successful 40-yard touchdown in the middle to get the senators forward, 14-8, with 2:26 left to halftime.
Then a 30-yard kick return from Semanski gave the Red Hawks new life. Despite a nine-meter run from Lain Spearance, Frontier still faced 4th and 8th of the opponent’s 14 with 27 seconds left. Thinking Dodge had found an open receiver in the Promised Land, Tenney came from behind to interrupt the play.
After a homestand with two games to start the year, Mahar will now hit the road on Friday, April 9 at 6pm to take on Athol.
It’s hard when you’re playing yourself, Woodward said of the shortened season. We don’t have the bodies because I have five eighth graders and several freshmen. They’re not done yet, and it’s a shame we can’t play JV either because we don’t have the songs.
It’s still a fun group because they are all smart kids.
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