FROST – The Oxford dictionary defines passion as, “a strong and barely controllable emotion”. Through the week leading up to Frost’s 26-6 victory on Homecoming over Bartlett, The Polar Bears have expressed passion though themed dress-up days and a pep rally.
“We talked about playing with passion throughout the week. Tonight, we played with passion,” coach Randy Fulton noted after the game.
The Polar Bears' passion helped them overcome three turnovers and create six Bartlett turnovers. It also helped Frost withstand a ferocious pass rush led by DL Kenneth Smith (6’5, 300). The Bulldogs' pass rush kept Frost QB Tony Alvarado impersonating Harry Houdini. He could not always escape – sacked five times. Bartlett limited Alvarado to completing only three of 15 passes – but two of the three became huge factors in the game.
After the Polar Bears defense did not allow a yard from scrimmage on three straight Bartlett running plays, LB Preston Rasco darted toward the punter forcing a rushed kick. The kick shanked out-of-bounds off the punter’s foot for only a yard at the Frost 26-yard line. Frost capitalized when Alvarado rolled right and hit WR Korben Bowling in stride on a go-pattern down the sideline for a touchdown and 7-0 lead with 8:22 left in the first quarter.
Ramon Manrriquez, who acquired the team’s sledgehammer for outstanding defensive performance last week, turned in another stat-filled defensive effort. He had 14 tackles – three for losses, including a sack, a blocked PAT, and he returned 91 yards on three interceptions.
His first pick came with 6:57 to go in the first quarter and gave the Bears the ball at their own 47-yard line. Nine plays later, Manrriquez took a pitchback to his right behind OL Jeffrey Watson and OT Leopoldo Perez to an empty sideline for an 11-yard touchdown run. The score gave the Bears a 14-0 lead with 3:56 left in the first quarter.
After a Frost turnover near mid-field, the Bulldogs gained some momentum to begin the second quarter. The Bulldogs running attack featured RB Lavonta Davis and QB Jerrod Cooper. On the night, Davis ran 36 times for 155 yards. Cooper ran 12 times for 108 yards. His 5-yard run capped off a 9-play drive for a touchdown with 8:20 in the second quarter, closing his team within a touchdown 14-6.
While the Frost offense had trouble finding is rhythm with the Bulldog rush, the Polar Bear defense continued seizing turnovers. On Bartlett’s third quarter opening drive, Cooper fired long but into Frost coverage. Manrriquez yanked his second interception. As the crowd yelled, “Tito!!!”, he then ran to his left and down the sideline for a 45-yard touchdown return – extending the Bears lead to 20-6.
On the next Bartlett drive, the Bulldogs faced third and 19 at the Frost 39-yard line. Cooper rolled right and fired toward the end zone. Bears CB Levi Fuller intercepted the ball at the 4-yard line and returned it 22 yards. Two plays later Alvarado fired a missile over the middle to Rasco running a post-route. Rasco took the pass in stride, hit another gear, high stepped out of a tackle attempt, and raced 74-yards for a score giving Frost a 26-6 victory.
Manrriquez pulled in his third interception late in the fourth quarter. The Bears defense was also bolstered by several other players including LB Christian Bryant (9 tackles and a fumble recovery) and DL Watson (11 tackles). Offensively, Manrriquez gained 75 yards on 10 carries and several steps at the Homecoming Dance.