By Todd Wills
Corsicana Daily Sun
FROST — —
FROST — First-year coach Eric Blenden had a good feeling about this year’s Frost Polar Bears and their chances to end a 11-year playoff drought.
He liked his starting backfield. He liked his quarterback. He liked the potential of his defense.
But he couldn’t stop talking about his offensive line.
Eleven games later, he still can’t. Frost has talented skill guys from quarterback Jacob Stroder to backfield mates Danial Steels, Robert Worley and Woody Woods.
But it’s the offensive line that, not surprisingly, has done all the dirty work for the Polar Bears (10-1), who will play Chilton (5-5) in a Region III-1A DII area round playoff game at 7 p.m. Friday at Groesbeck Goat Stadium.
“It’s just a good group,” Blenden said. “They work hard.”
Frost won its first playoff game since 1989 last Friday, whipping up on Detroit 28-14. The Polar Bears rushed for 310 yards in the win, just below their season average of 316 yards per game.
Not surprisingly, the running game starts up front.
The Polar Bears’ offensive line is an experienced group with four starters about to complete their second full season, two of them their third season.
They don’t rely on their size — they go from 230 pounds at the top of the scale to 160 at the lower end.
“They make up for it by working off their tails,” Blenden said.
Center Andrew Jackson and strong guard Colton McGill are the three-year starters. Jackson, a senior, is the leader of the line and makes all the calls. McGill, a junior, has been a starter since his freshman season.
The other guard, junior Edgar Anaya and the quick tackle, senior Raymundo Hernandez, are two-year starters. Strong tackle Joshua Frazier, a senior, is the lone first-year starter and the only one of the group who also doesn’t play defense.
Like most offensive lines, the Polar Bears swear by their continuity.
“We’ve been together for so long that we’re used to playing together,” Frazier said. “We know our spots.”
And they can communicate well together, Jackson said. All of them except for McGill, who moved to Frost right before high school, have played together since the sixth grade.
“We grew up together,” Jackson said. “We talk in code words.”
And when McGill arrived, he was welcomed too.
“We’re like a family,” McGill said.
They’ve been motivated to turn the program around together. They say they don’t know much about history — about 2007 when the Polar Bears couldn’t finish the season, or 2008 when Frost went 0-10.
Jackson, Hernandez and Frazier know that the program started turning around under Clark Moore when the Bears went 5-5. And it has steadily progressed to the point where Frost was picked in the preseason to make the playoffs.
The fact that Frost backed it up sent a message to everyone, even though the Bears didn’t hear that on the field.
“We didn’t have the respect that we should have,” Anaya said. “We played and we proved ourselves. We came out confident and worked hard ever day.”
The reward — the first playoff win in Frost in 23 years.
There was quite a celebration. Sophomore Tristan Perry’s grandmother always bakes the players cookies, so they went down really well last Friday night in Bullard.
“It was a crazy celebration,” Hernandez said.
No one deserved it more than the Polar Bears.
Todd Wills may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this story? Email: email@example.com
Things that happened in November 1989, the last time the Frost Polar Bears won a high school football game until last Friday’s 28-14 win over Detroit:
- The Dallas Cowboys win their only game of the season on Nov. 5 at Washington, 13-3. The Cowboys go 1-15 in Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson’s first season as owner and head coach.
- The Berlin Wall is torn down, allowing East German citizens to travel into West Germany freely for the first time in decades.
- Brazil holds its first free presidential election since 1960.
- Kirby Puckett and Rickey Henderson sign Major League Baseball-record $3 million contracts with the Minnesota Twins and Oakland A’s.
- Lou Piniella is named manager of the Cincinnati Reds, replacing the banned Pete Rose.
- The U.S. National soccer team beats Trinidad, 1-0 qualifing for the 1990 World Cup finals, the first American team to do so since 1950.
- Law banning smoking on most domestic flights signed by President George H. W. Bush.
- Word Perfect 5.1 is shipped.
- Douglas Wilder is elected first U.S. black governor (Virginia) and David Dinkins is elected first black mayor of New York City.
- “Batman" is released on video tape.
Region III-1-1A DII Area Round
Frost (10-1) vs. Chilton (5-5)
7:00 p.m. Friday, Groesback Goat Stadium
Radio: KAND-AM 1340 (6:30 p.m. pregame)
Frost DT Maliko Bruce vs. Chilton QB Javarius Young
Bruce can make an impact on Chilton’s zone-read game if he can get penetration and disrupt things in the backfield. Young is a dynamic player and will be the fastest guy on the field Friday. Young had long TD runs of 45, 99 and 88 yards in Chilton’s 35-14 victory over Bremond to win the District 12-1A Division II championship.
Don’t be fooled by Chilton’s record
Chilton is 5-5, but the Pirates played a treacherous schedule that included Bosqueville, Mart, Wellington, Thorndale and Burton, all still alive in the playoffs. Chilton didn’t win any of the games and lost four of them by double digits. But it toughened the Pirates up for district play. Chilton enters the playoffs on a three-game winning streak.
Frost can go on time-consuming drives. The Polar Bears rush for 7.4 yards per carry, so it doesn’t take much to move the chains. Tailback Danial Steels has 1,490 yards and 23 TDs. Wing Back Robert Worley is Frost’s most consistent player, according to area coaches. Worley nears the 1,000-yard mark with 932 yards and 11 TDs.
Enjoy the moment. The Polar Bears last won a playoff game in 1989. Even the players admit their own fans didn’t believe they could turn the program around, but these Frost players have done it. So now it’s time to enjoy the moment. “It’s all gravy now,” is what a motto Corsicana uses once the playoffs start. The Polar Bears should take that attitude into Friday night.
— Todd Wills