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Keeping up hot streak, Bulldogs take over Panthers in 43-0 win

Written by: on Saturday, September 8th, 2018


The stakes were high as the anticipated match-up between Freedom and Riverside began to unfold at Bulldog Stadium. With a long-term rivalry, both teams were looking for the “dub” with fans cheering from almost every direction. The stadium was packed with spectators and student section members who were all waiting for the first run of the game.

Senior Jake Pail (21) tries to avoid a tackle on a rush to the end zone.

Within the first two minutes of the first quarter, the Bulldogs set the tone for the rest of the evening with a tackle from junior Kevin Lawrence, leading to a Bulldog safety.

“It was a great team win, everyone stepped up,” Lawrence said. “It was a whole team effort.”

As the first quarter progressed, senior Zach Rosa had another scoring play for the Bulldogs, rushing to the end zone to make the score 9-0, Freedom. At the tail half of the first quarter, with 3:53 still on the clock, senior Jake Pail reached the end zone for another Freedom touchdown. At the end of the first, the score stood at 15-0, Bulldogs.

According to Freedom’s head coach, Russ Barley, this game was “probably the biggest game that Freedom’s had in years.”

That being said, there was a lot of preparing going into this game from both sides of the field

“We knew we had to be ready, they’ve always been tough kids,” Riverside head coach, Ron Sciarro, said.

Going right into the second quarter, the Bulldogs didn’t stop their scoring runs, with senior Cody Ross going for a 10-yard rush to the end zone. With 7:07 left in the half, the score stood at Freedom 22, Riverside 0.

Winding down the first half was Lawrence, with a 19-yard interception return with 23.7 seconds remaining on the clock.

Junior Max Ujhazy (32) slips out of a tackle attempt while he rushes down the field for a potential scoring play.

The third and fourth quarters each had one more scoring play for the Bulldogs: a 3-yard run by Pail, and a 35-yard run by sophomore Cole Beck, respectively, marking the final score of the night 43-0, Freedom.

“It started right from the opening kick off; we bobbled it and then we got pinned and they got a safety, and then they went in to score. We never stopped them all night,” Sciarro said. “We didn’t do much offensively, so it was a tough one. Hopefully we’ll watch the film tomorrow and the kids take it to heart… We’ll get better, that’s what it’s all about.”

Some consistent hitters throughout the night were Lawrence and junior Noah Valles. Valles, Freedom’s linebacker, led the team with seven tackles.

“Before the game I was jittery, thinking about how the game was going to go. I didn’t know how we were going to come out and perform. I didn’t know if we were going to be ‘same old Freedom,’ like last year, but we came out and kept hitting, and hitting and hitting,” Valles said. “I didn’t want to lose, and if I have to hit people to win, I’m going to keep hitting them.”

Changing the pace from last season, the boys aren’t showing up as “same old Freedom.”

“Last year was all different,” Valles said. “Every time we would get down, we would just fall flat… This year, Coach Barley, all of the coaches put it in our head that we are better than the opponent, and we can beat anyone we play. We want to win now, they’ve given us the opportunity.”

This game is admittedly a big one in the books for Freedom, but the boys need to remain focused, acorrding to Athletic Director John Rosa, for next week the Bulldogs travel to Mohawk to take on the Warriors at 7.

“Mohawk is a big, big football game. Right now it’s going to be for the best team in the conference, probably, so we have to come out and play,” John Rosa said. “We’ll be ready.”

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