SALAMANCA — Five years ago, after a failed 11-man merger with Randolph, Frewsburg became the first Section VI program to turn to 8-man football.
Now the Bears are the section’s first champion.
They did it in dramatic fashion.
Blake Weaver ran for a 9-yard touchdown in the second overtime and then added the 2-point conversion as Frewsburg beat Allegany-Limestone 50-48 in the inaugural Section VI 8-man football title game Saturday afternoon at Veterans Memorial Park.
“It feels like validation. Everything that we struggled for through five years, all the travel, all the things we had to sacrifice — even some home games — all of that has been validated,” Frewsburg head coach Rob Collver said. “Our 8-man league can now start forming and Section VI can get that rolling. We’ll have a lot of fun with it. 8-man is a lot of fun. As a program, Frewsburg has been pounding that. Now, to finally have hardware to prove it kind of validates all of our efforts.”
A game that was just 6-6 at halftime was flipped on its head in the second half.
Harrison Eckert caught a 23-yard touchdown from Trent Lewis and Weaver ran for a 75-yard score as the Bears led 20-14 entering the fourth quarter.
Frewsburg’s lead grew to double digits when Weaver scored on a 31-yard run early in the fourth quarter. The Gators’ Michael Frederick then scored on runs of 63 and 6 yards to tie the game for Allegany-Limestone.
The Bears again took the lead on Weaver’s 2-yard run with 2:10 remaining, but the Gators marched the length of the field and scored on a 2-yard pass by Frederick with 45 seconds remaining.
In overtime, each team got a possession starting at the 20-yard line. Lewis scored on a 4-yard run to give Frewsburg a 42-34 lead before the Gators also scored on a 4-yard run to tie the game after a successful 2-point conversion.
Allegany-Limestone started the second overtime with a 4-yard touchdown run by Frederick, but Eckert and Weaver stopped the Gators quarterback’s 2-point conversion attempt.
Weaver then tied the game with his 9-yard run before following Caleb Stahlman and Jaden Collver into the end zone for the 2-point conversion.
“Our 2-point conversions, we are really strong with those. If we can stop the other team’s 2-point, we feel like we have a 2-point edge already,” Collver said. “As soon as we stopped that in the second overtime. I thought, ‘Ya, we’ve got it now.’”
As a team, Frewsburg ran 55 times for 389 yards. Weaver had 32 carries for 280 yards and five touchdowns, while Lewis had 20 carries for 108 yards and a score.
Through the air, Lewis completed eight passes for 154 yards and a touchdown. Eckert caught five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively, Lewis had 13 tackles; Stahlman had nine tackles, including four for a loss, and a sack; Eckert had 12 tackles, including one for a loss; and Andreus Fountaine had eight tackles, including one for a loss.
“You don’t ever think you’re going to score 42 points in a half. We were pretty confident in what we were doing. Our offense was really good,” Collver said. “It was a perfect storm. Frederick is super talented, runs around and makes some incredible throws. We try to cover for 5 or 6 seconds and it’s hard. We were the ground-and-pound running team, and they were kind of the air-it-out team. It was a matter of which defense could make a stop first.”
Frewsburg will take on either Pembroke or Bolivar-Richburg in the Far West Regional on Nov. 11 at Pittsford-Mendon High School. Section V will decide its champion next weekend.
“It feels so good for Terry Gray,” Collver said of the former Frewsburg head coach and current athletic director. “He suffered through those years of everybody saying 8-man wasn’t real. We ran numbers, traveled around to make sure 8-man got the best look for schools in our section. For him to finally see his program and coaches succeed with a championship is pretty cool.”