Newport hands Panthers first loss of season

By LINDA YOUNKIN State Journal Sports Writer Published:

Frankfort High's football team has a bye week next week, and FHS coach Craig Foley says the timing couldn't be better.

"It's the best time it could happen," Foley said after the Panthers lost their homecoming game 34-24 to Newport Friday at Sower Field. "We had a little trouble this week in practice with focus, individualism. This surely humbled them, and now we have time to get things straightened back out before district play."

The bad news for Frankfort Friday was that the Wildcats jumped out to a 21-0 lead early in the third quarter, and two of the scoring drives started when the Panthers lost the ball on fumbles.

The good news was FHS battled to stay in the game with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.

Newport made some mistakes of its own, but the Wildcats controlled the ball behind the running of Aaron Hambrick and the leadership of quarterback Terry Runion, a Jared Lorenzen-like QB who wore No. 13 in the first half and switched to No. 46 in the second half after his first jersey was badly torn.

"We had to," Newport coach Mark Goetz said of his team's ball control play. "They're so athletic if you make one mistake they can go the distance, like they did with the kicking game. They're so athletic you can't make mistakes."

Newport scored its first touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Runion to David Schoo, and Schoo also caught the pass on the conversion for an 8-0 lead with 58 seconds left in the period.

The Panthers were driving on their next possession, reaching the Wildcats' 11-yard line before losing the ball on a fumble. NHS promptly gave the ball back on a fumble recovered by Frankfort's Josh Smith, but again the Panthers turned the ball over on a turnover, this time at the Newport 14.

In a drive that took about six minutes, the Wildcats moved from the 14-yard line and eventually scored on a one-yard keeper by Runion with 1:12 left in the half. Chris Burgin kicked the extra point, giving Newport a 15-0 halftime lead.

For more on this story, see the latest State Journal.

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