Kids in Frost know more about the ‘80s from just what they see in Adam Sandler movies. Football programs there have been judged against the decade since, well, 1989, the last time the school won a playoff game.
The upstart Polar Bears, 0-10 four years ago, are bi-district champions after a convincing 28-14 win over Detroit in Region III-DII play Friday night at Bullard’s Panther Stadium.
Now 10-1, Frost will face Chilton next week at a time, date and site to be determined.
“It’s no longer about ’89,” first-year head coach Eric Blenden said. “We were able to put that to rest. It’s now about 2012.”
The Bears did it with a steady ground game and an opportunistic defense, holding Detroit (9-2) 16 points below its season average. Eagles senior running back Devonya Bell did rush for 235 yards and two touchdowns on 30 carries, but time and time again, the Bears came up with big stops, including two first-half interceptions.
Detroit was driving on its second drive of the night, up 7-6, when safety Jacob Stroder knifed through and dropped Bell for a two-yard loss on third-and-6. The next drive ended in a Danial Steels interception, and the one following a Stroder pick after a Colton Clayton sack as Frost built a 20-7 halftime lead.
The Bears held on fourth-and-7 from their 30 after Detroit had recovered a Robert Worley fumble on the first play of the third quarter.
Then the offense got back in the game.
Steels had 136 yards to lead Frost, and scored from 1 and 25 yards out in the first. Worley add a 5-yard run, but after the Eagles got a 13-yard Bell run on the second play of the fourth quarter to make it 20-14, a sputtering offense needed to do something.
What followed might have been the strangest drive of the year for Frost, but it yielded the right result.
Worley carried for 11 yards on first down, advancing the ball into Detroit territory, then the Bears began to chip away. On second-and-9 from the 33, Steels carried for three yards. He was stood up, and Detroit’s Ryder Brock broke from the pile with the ball, and was on his way to a touchdown as whistles blew. Officials ruled Steels’ forward progress had been stopped.
On the next play, Stroder hit Worley for 30 yards and a touchdown, but it came back after a holding call. On third-and-16, the senior signal caller came up with a gutsy run, pulling down the ball on a play very similar to the touchdown, then streaking his way for 13 yards to the 27.
On fourth down, Worley went 16 yards for a critical first down, getting pushed in a pile the final seven or eight yards by on offensive line that was precise most of the night.
“Our offensive line has been doing a heckuva job,” Blenden said. “Danial and Robert and our fullbacks are great, but just as key is the line when you are getting eight yards a pop.”
In the first half, eight of Frost’s 12 second down plays were second-and-1 or second-and-2 plays. One of the other four was second-and-7 after a penalty.
Back to the drive, two plays after Worley’s first, Cade Rigamonti scored from seven yards out to make it 28-14 after Woody Woods’ two-point run with 5:59 left.
A Bell 50-yard run on the next offensive play put Detroit back in business, but back-to-back losses on first and second downs inside the 15 led to a turnover on downs. The Eagles got one more chance, but with 30 seconds could do little.
Andrew Jackson sacked Detroit’s Trevor Reger for a 17-yard loss on the final play of the game.
The Polar Bears had not been to the playoffs since 2001, the year this team’s seniors were in kindergarten.
Blenden knows Chilton provides a fast, formidable challenge, but he’s looking for a little more history.
“We’re playing with house money now,” he said. “We’re going to enjoy it.”
Frost 28, Detroit 14
Frost 6 14 0 8 — 28
Detroit 7 0 0 7 — 14
D — Ryder Brock 12 pass from Trevor Reger (Matthew Brown), 5:51
F — Danial Steels 1 run (kick failed), 2:19
F — Robert Worley 5 run (Steels run), 5:27
F —Steels 25 run (pass failed), 2:06
D — Bell 13 run (Brown kick), 11:18
F — Cade Rigamonti 7 run (Woody Woods run), 5:59
First downs 16 12
Rush-yards 50-310 40-249
Passing yards 21 36
C-A-I 3-4-0 3-10-2
Fumbles-lost 1-1 1-0
Punts-avg. 1-33 1-26
Penalties-yards 3-20 4-20
Rushing —F: Danial Steels 18-136, Robert Worley 13-89, Woody Woods 8-29, Jacob Stroder 5-24, Cade Rigamonti 6-32. D: Devonya Bell 30-235, Devin Ervin 6-41, Trevor Reger 4-(-27).
Passing — F: Stroder 3-4-0-21. D: Trevor Reger 3-9-2-36, Bell 0-1-0-0.
Receiving — F: Steels 1-2, Worley 1-19. D: Ervin 2-24, Ryder Brock 1-12.