Friday night the varsity football team took on the Dukes from Garber for the District Championship. Freeland was supposed to play Garber week 2 of the season, but Covid delayed the start to the season. So instead of a week 2 match-up, we had to settle for a District Championship match-up.
Garber won the coin toss and chose to defer to the second half giving the Falcons the ball first. Garber’s kickoff would sail out of bounds and the Falcons would start on their own 35 yard line. The Falcons would start the game the same way they would finish it, with long sustained drives that would keep Garber’s offense off the field. Freeland would march 65 yards in 11 plays using 4 minutes and 32 seconds from the clock. Garrett Pistro would follow Gabe Blanchard and Blake Watson off the left side of the line and pound it in from 5 yards out. Jacob Kundinger would add the extra point and Freeland would jump out to a 7-0 with 7:32 to go in the 1st.
Garber would get their first chance on offense from their own 32 yard line. After two big runs of 11 yards and 18 yards, Ben Wellnitz and Blake Watson would get to the Garber QB and come up with a huge sack to stop Garber’s momentum. Garber Would be forced to and Freeland would be back in action from their own 29 yard line. This time the Falcon weren’t able to get into the endzone, but they used the last 4:34 seconds of the first quarter before punting the ball away on the first play of the second quarter. The Falcons would possess the ball for 9:06 of the first and only let Garber have one possession.
Freeland’s punt would be downed at the Garber 22 yard line and one Garber’s 4th play, Nolan Vanloo stepped in front of a Garber pass and came up with the interception on Garber’s 31 yard line. This time the Falcons wasted no time. Jacob Kundinger took the first handoff and went 29 yards down to the 2 yard line. A false start backed the Falcons up 5 yards, but that just padded Pistro’s stats as went off the left side again and punched in his second touchdown of the night from 7 yards out. Jacob Kundinger added another PAT and with 9:31 to go in the 2nd the Falcons had jumped out to a 14-0 lead.
Garber would take over from their own 27 yard line after the Falcons kicked off and struck back quickly. The Dukes found some success with 4 good running plays before finding a wide open receiver down the middle of the field for a 51 yard TD catch. They would add the extra point and cut the lead to 14-7 with 6:26 to go in the half.
The Falcons went back to work after a 45 yard kickoff return by Easton Armstrong and started their next drive from the Dukes 45 yard line. Freeland offense did what Freeland’s offense does. It went 45 yards in 14 plays before Bryson Huckeby hooked up with Freshman Daniel Duley in the endzone from 10 yards out with 48 seconds to go in the half. Dinger would add his 3rd PAT and Freeland would lead 21-7.
The Dukes made it interesting just before half. They would hook up for a 40 yard completion followed by an 11 yard completion taking them down to the Falcon 14 yard line. After a 3 yard run and an incompletion, Garber would line up for the field goal with .02 seconds on the clock, but Nolan Vanloo had other ideas. He was able to sneak through the left side of the line and get a hand on the ball leaving the Dukes a bit short on the try.
Garber would get the ball first to start the 2nd half, but would be forced to go 3 and out. After the punt Freeland would take over on their own 37 yard line. On this drive the Falcon’s offense would eat up 4:13 off the clock. Bryson Huckeby would add a 37 yard run on 3rd and long and get facemasked on the play to move the ball to the 6 yard line. Two plays later Jacob Kundinger would run in from a yard out. He would add his 4th PAT and the Falcons would lead 28-7 with 6:39 to go in the 3rd.
Garber would take over their next possession from their own 25 yard line and put together their best drive of the night. They would march 75 yards in 13 plays, but would eat 5:00 off the clock along the way. They would run it in from 3 yards out and with 1:39 to go in the 3rd, they would cut the Falcon lead to 28-14.
A failed onside kick by Garber would give Freeland good field position on their next possession. The Duke defense started to stiffen up and that would leave the Falcons forced with a 4th and 8 from the 31 yard line. As they did for most of the night, the Falcon offensive line did their job and Bryson Huckeby enough time to find Easton Armstrong across the middle for a 31 yard TD catch. Jacob would add his 5th and final PAT of the evening and with 11:05 to go in the game, the Falcons led 35-14.
Both teams would get 2 more possessions, but neither were able to generate points from them.
When the clock hit 0:00 the Falcons would walk away with their 2nd straight District Championship.
When you don’t think you are going to even have a season, to come away with a conference title and a district title, you have to feel blessed.
The Falcons now keep their fingers crossed that they will be able to resume their season to take on Reed City for the Regional Title.
Photo: Jason’s Falcon Sports