FRANKFORT — Before Frankfort headed back to the field for the second half kick-off, Tom Potts told his Hot Dog players this would be a game they’d remember for the rest of their lives.
The fourth-year head coach’s words would ring prophetic.
Trailing 20-7 at halftime, Frankfort scored 35 second-half points – 28 in the fourth quarter – as the Hot Dogs came from behind to stun Danville, 42-35, in what will be considered an instant classic.
It also happened to be Frankfort’s Homecoming.
“I don’t claim to be Nostradamus, but I could just tell, it was one of those things where you have a feeling, a sense for how we’re moving the ball,” Potts said. “I just knew it. I don’t know why but I just knew it. I just knew we were going to explode offensively in the second half.”
The fourth quarter in itself seemed like an entire game. Of Frankfort’s 28 points, 21 came in the final 5:57 of the game as they overcame a 27-14 Danville lead.
Powering the way for Frankfort was senior Korben Shirar, who scored five touchdowns – three in the fourth quarter – and ran for 195 yards, 145 in the second half.
“Snoop is Snoop,” said Potts of Shirar, using his nickname. “Someone smarter than me said, in crucial situations think of players, not plays, and you know who you want the ball in the hands of.”
It was Frankfort’s (3-3, 2-2 Sagamore Athletic Conference) third consecutive victory over Danville (3-3, 3-1 SAC).
“We didn’t get down for a second,” Shirar said. “I think it’s a turning point in our season. We just beat one of the best teams in our conference and gives us confidence the rest of the season. There was a lot of intensity with the underclassmen and they all knew what it meant to us, so it was nice.”
The Hot Dogs racked up 203 of their 363 total yards in the fourth quarter.
“They got momentum, got blockers off the ball and we couldn’t stop them,” Danville head coach Terry Siddall said. “They bounced back and kept coming and they got us. When that avalanche hits and you can’t get it turned out, it can’t be stopped. kept hammering us.”
Tied at 35-35 with 2:18 remaining, Frankfort went to work after a Kansas Varner 30-yard kickoff return put the Hot Dogs on their own 42-yard line. A 16-yard run from Dylan Timmons and a 15-yarder from Shirar got Frankfort all the way down to the Danville 27. Four plays later, Shirar scored from 15 yards out for a 42-35 lead with 52.8 seconds remaining.
But Danville gave it one last hurrah. After a pair of completed passes got the Warriors to the Frankfort 34-yard line, Jon Pedigo’s heave to the end zone with 4.4 seconds left was picked off by Varner and appeared to end the game.
However, Frankfort was called for a personal foul face mask on the line of scrimmage, giving the Warriors an untimed play from the 19-yard line. But Pedigo’s last-ditch heave to Logan Cooper was knocked down by Shirar.
Tanner Svoboda made a huge defensive play with 12.6 remaining, swatting a pass away in the end zone after being locked in single coverage with a Danville receiver.
“I knew that it would be kind of a dumb play to try and intercept, so I just figured with four seconds left, get it away from him and I just happened to read the quarterback well enough to break on the ball and make the play,” Svoboda said.
Shirar kicked off the quarter with a 47-yard TD run to cut Danville’s lead to 27-21. After holding Danville to a 3-and-out, Svoboda fumbled the ball three plays later and it was returned by Danville’s Justin Stanley all the way to the Frankfort 6-yard line.
However, on the first play, Nick Thurston fumbled and was recovered by Frankfort’s Alec Stuard.
“We had a chance to go back up two scores and we promptly fumbled the ball right back next play,” Siddall said. “The game’s over. We had a chance to put it away and we didn’t. We let them off the hook. You can’t make the mistakes we made and expect to win.”
Set up at its own 8-yard line with 9:40 remaining, Frankfort marched 92 yards in nine plays, capped off with a 30-yard touchdown run by Timmons to give the Hot Dogs their first lead of the night at 28-27.
On Danville’s third play of the next possession, Pedigo was picked off Shirar, who returned it to the 10-yard line. Shirar ran it in from 10 yards out on the next play for a 35-27 lead.
But Danville wasn’t done, not by a long shot. With 4:02 left, the Warriors only needed 1:44to score as a 7-play, 64-yard drive was finished with an 8-yard strike from Pedigo to Howie Cupp. A two-point conversion pass from Pedigo to Thurston was good for a 35-all tie.
Thurston led the Warriors with 78 yards rushing and scored three touchdowns. Pedigo was 18 of 30 for 217 yards. Cupp was their leading receiver with six catches for 59 yards.
Thurston’s first two scores put Danville up, 14-0 early in the second quarter. A Shirar 1-yard run made it 14-7 with 4:41 remaining in the half, but Danville marched down the field and Pedigo found Drew Mitchell for a 7-yard score and a 20-7 lead right before halftime.
Shirar scored his second TD of the game in the third to cut the score to 20-14 before Thurston scored again from four yards out with 1:32 to go in the third to push Danville’s lead to 20-14.
Timmons finished with 84 yards rushing.
“I don’t have the words to explain (the win),” Svoboda said. “It almost brings me to tears.”