PLAINFIELD – Oswego East forward Ford Frazer is focused on one thing this season.
“My mindset this season [is to] put one in the back of the net each game or help assist on one for each game,” Frazer said. “Whatever I can do to help this team win, that’s what I’m going to do.”
Frazer has been true to his word. The senior has scored nine goals – half of his team’s total – and that is a big reason why the Wolves (5-1-2) are unbeaten since a season-opening 2-1 loss to Hinsdale Central.
Frazer has scored at least a point in every game so far, including a goal in all but one match. He recorded his second two-goal game of the campaign Saturday night as Oswego East edged Downers Grove North 2-1 in a thrilling match on the opening day of the inaugural Plainfield Classic.
“He had a great sophomore year and then last year he was a little disappointed with his play,” Oswego East coach Steve Szymanski said. “This year he said he’s going to come out and lead the way. He’s been doing that, so it has been nice to see.”
Downers North (6-3-2) led 1-0 at halftime thanks to senior Braeden Gagliano’s goal in the 18th minute. But the Trojans, who had tied Plainfield South 1-1earlier in the day, showed a little fatigue in the second half against the Wolves, who played only one game Saturday.
That might have been a factor as the teams went back-and-forth relentlessly, entertaining the fans while tiring themselves out.
But Frazer used both his head and feet to will the Wolves to victory. He tied the game four minutes into the second half when he scored on a one-timer off across from Andre Casas.
Then with time winding down, defender Zach Lass launched a long ball from the left wing into the box. Frazer got his head on it for what turned out to be the game-winner with 1:24 remaining.
“They were taller than us but I think we were quicker than them, I think we were smarter than them and I saw that Zach got a great touch on it,” Frazer said. “He’s been playing great balls the entire day and I figured, you know what, I’m going to go up and hope he puts one in and I can do whatever I can to get a touch on it.
“I was hoping to just get it towards the net. Luckily it went in for me.”
Downers North goalie Gavin Crowson, who made a sensational save in the first half to knock another header from Frazer around the post, got his hand on Frazer’s game-winner from point-blank range but was unable to stop the shot.
“It was a really good ball in and [Frazer] got a touch on it,” Downers North coach Mike Schmitt said. “In that situation, all he really needs to do is get a touch and our goalie did everything he probably could do with such a quick reaction, even got hands on it, it just [wasn’t enough], unfortunately.”
While both teams played well, the Wolves had the upper hand in the second half, when they outshot the Trojans 11-2. Crowson made six saves to keep the game tied, but the Wolves’ will withered North.
“It’s good to see where our minds are when we do go down [a goal],” Lass said. “It’s good to see everyone is willing to fight back and that’s exactly what we did today.
“We battled the entire game. We thought we deserved to win and we did.”
Lass got no argument from Schmitt, whose team is enduring a stretch of six games in eight days.
“It was very high-paced, it was very exciting and I think both teams played really well,” Schmitt said. “They just seemed to want it a little more toward the end of the game and they got rewarded for it.”