Frankford football coach Will Doggett did not hesitate when asked to name the overall catalyst of this year's squad.
"Marquise Poston," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, he's the most valuable player of the league. He plays quarterback for us, he's our starting outside linebacker, and he'll even jump in there on special teams."
Saturday evening at Northeast, with another solid all-around effort from Poston, the Pioneers, overcoming a slow start, muffled George Washington, 30-3, and claimed their second straight Public League Class AAAA championship.
Poston, a southpaw who also played a key role in last year's title-game win over the Eagles, completed 7 of 12 passes for 70 yards. He carried eight times for 47 yards.
"We have a great team," the 6-foot, 180-pound senior said. "It's not just me. We have a lot of athletes who can get it done."
On defense, where he is a return starter, Poston and company limited the Eagles to 58 yards rushing (on 29 attempts) and 45 passing.
Next Saturday, at 4 p.m. back at Northeast, Frankford (7-3) will face Catholic League champ St. Joseph's Prep (8-2) for the PIAA District 12 Class AAAA crown.
Though the Pioneers eventually cruised past Washington, they were ahead by only 8-3 at intermission. Doggett made it clear in the locker room that he was anything but pleased.
"I was frustrated with how we were playing, and I basically let out my frustration," the coach said. "I asked the kids, 'Where's your heart? Do you want this more than they do?' "
Said Poston, "I totally agreed with him. We were playing down to their level. We had to come out and turn up the intensity. It shouldn't have been that close."
Midway through the third quarter, Poston's 16-yard keeper through the heart of Washington's defense (the pile kept moving and moving) set up Damion "Jawzy" Samuels' 5-yard touchdown run.
Early in the fourth, Samuels (10 carries for 118 yards) went 68 yards to make it 23-3. "He's small, but powerful," Poston said. "All of our running backs are beasts."
Poston, who lives on Hunting Park Avenue, near O Street, intercepted a fourth-quarter pass at the Frankford 18. He sat out the final minutes after feeling woozy from a hit.
The Pioneers' other defensive standouts were end Shareef Miller, tackles Kadar Jones and Javez Baker-Hall, middle linebacker Qahire Moore, and backs Samuels, Quinton Ellis and Devontae Lee.
For the Eagles, who fell short of their fourth league crown in the last six years, senior tailback Ken Everage carried 15 times for 39 yards.
George Washington 0 3 0 0-3
Frankford 0 8 8 14-30
F: Quinton Ellis 5 run (Carlos Saldana run)
GW: FG Chris Schlegel 25
F: Damion Samuels 5 run (Alex Candelario run)
F: Samuels 68 run (Messiah Mitchell kick)
F: Mitchell 21 pass from Rene Herrera (Mitchell kick)