By CONOR NICHOLL
Frontenac continued its excellent season with a 42-26 state quarterfinal win versus Rock Creek last week. The win highlighted several trends for the Raiders. Frontenac rushed for 379 yards and limited RC’s record-setting passing offense to 5.5 yards per play. Rock Creek set multiple school marks for passing in 2021.
Frontenac improved to 9-2 and will play at home versus Holton (11-0) in the 3A semifinals this week. Frontenac fell, 42-6, to Holton in the state quarterfinals last year. Holton is ranked third in 3A, and Frontenac fourth. Frontenac entered this year with high expectations, especially defensively, and has met those standards.
Frontenac has averaged 30.5 points a game and permitted 12.5 per contest. Last season, the Raiders went 6-5, scored 20.8 points a contest and allowed 19.9 a game. Since 2014, Frontenac has won 10 games three times and nine twice.
Frontenac has forced 25 turnovers and stands at plus-12 in turnover margin. Last year, the Raiders forced 15 turnovers and were minus-3 in turnover margin.
Versus Rock Creek, Frontenac led 21-20 in the third quarter after a RC touchdown. Then, Justice Compton tallied three straight touchdowns. He had a seven-yard run and had a five-yard TD pass from Collin McCartney. Then, Compton tacked on a 10-yard TD run.
Compton finished with 15 carries for 113 yards and three touchdowns. Six-foot-2, 195-pound junior Mario Menghini delivered 20 carries for 195 yards and two TDs. McCartney finished with 100 yards of total offense. The Raiders also won the turnover margin (plus-two) and converted 70 percent of third downs, traits Frontenac has shown throughout the fall.
Menghini also rushed 18 times for 189 yards and four scores in a 26-6 Week 9 bracket game versus Columbus.
Frontenac is well-known for its excellent defensive line under veteran coach Mark Smith. However, the Raiders have also significantly bettered in passing defense from 2020, per Hudl boxscores/SIK research.
Versus Rock Creek, Frontenac finished with six sacks, including one by senior Lane Franklin (6-2, 270). McCartney and Menghini each picked off a pass. Additionally, the Raiders have Oklahoma State commit Landon Dean (6-4, 230) and Cruz Blair (6-1, 235) on the defensive line. Compton, a 6-2, 185-pound senior, has enjoyed a big year at linebacker. Menghini, senior Dawson Lapping, and senior safety Brady Stanley have been among those with nice years.
Overall, Frontenac has averaged 5.6 yards per play and permitted 3.8 yards per play. They have rushed for 224 yards a contest and allowed 101 rushing yards a game.
The pass defense has permitted opponents to complete 73 of 167 passes for 930 yards with 10 scores against 15 interceptions. Opponents have posted a 92 passing efficiency and 5.6 yards per pass.
Compton and Lapping have both had contests with two interceptions.
Last year, Frontenac averaged 5.2 yards per play and permitted 4.8 yards per play. The Raiders rushed for 150 yards a game and allowed 159 rushing yards a contest.
Opponents completed 63 of 135 passes for 980 yards with seven TDs against eight interceptions. That yielded a 122 passing efficiency and 7.3 yards per attempt.