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Open Mike: Frontier with plenty of motivation during football run

The football season began, in The Sun, with the posing of a question on our football preview cover: “Could this be the season the Falcons soar?” Meaning, would Frontier finally get back to a sectional final?

On Friday night, in what turned out to be quite the special night at Frontier, the Falcons answered with an emphatic ‘Yes.’ In a way, it seems appropriate that Frontier, in its first time back to The Ralph since 1984, meet Jamestown on Nov. 9.

After all, Frontier began this historic season for the program, not so much on the first day of practice in August, but actually the day after last year’s semifinal loss to Jamestown. Since, Falcons players were in the weight room, where articles and photos about that loss are hung on the wall, in preparation for this season.

Motivation would not be a problem for Frontier. As it turned out, the Falcons would have plenty more of it throughout season.

Even after going 6 – 2 and earning the No. 2 seed in Class AA, they found themselves perceived as the home field underdog against perennial-power Orchard Park heading into Friday’s semifinal. But Frontier proved it was as good as advertised coming into the season and during a 4 – 0 start in a 17 – 7 win.

Apparently, we prognosticators just got lulled to sleep a bit the past couple of weeks, after a lackluster performance in falling to rival Hamburg 14 – 7 and then a slow start in a comeback 27 – 21 OT win against Lockport to open the playoffs.

Even from the beginning of the season, Frontier has had a bit of a chip on its shoulder, after being perceived as lucky to not have gotten Jamestown or Orchard Park, on an unbalanced Class AA schedule. Now, the message of Frontier coaches to the team is that those teams were lucky to not have played the Falcons.

“That’s perfect. I love it. I hope everyone keeps doubting us,” Frontier head coach Tim Myslinski said. “I know we’re going to be a major underdog against Jamestown, and rightly so. They’re an excellent football team. I just hope people still doubt us. That’s fine by us. We don’t doubt each other.”

Emotions weren’t just shared on the field between Frontier players after Friday’s game; they ran ramped across the stands. Parents, students and graduates – anyone wearing Falcons’ blue – embraced and celebrated. There were even some tears shed.

This group has a great deal of weight on its shoulders. The team is playing for an entire school community, trying to erase years of tougher days on the gridiron and athletic programs eager to measure up to the elite of WNY large schools. They’re playing for a mostly blue-collar town that supports and takes pride in them. They’ve been playing with the year 1984 hanging over their head for as long as they can remember.

Now comes the next challenge, in unbeaten Jamerstown, which ironically was the school Frontier defeated, 6-3, in the 1984 final. If this season has been any indication, you can bet the Falcons won’t lack motivation.

A story about Frontier’s 1984 title-winning team will be online gameday on Saturday at www.thesunnews.net
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