The Freeland Falcons have been to the playoffs in every season since 2008. Just three times in the previous eleven trips (2008, 2014 and 2015) had they been able to capture a district title. In a game for the ages on Friday night, the Falcons were able to capture the first district title in four years with a 22-21 victory over Ogemaw Heights.
Freeland struck first in this game as they were able to find the end zone midway through the first quarter. Jacob Kundinger, the sophomore tailback, ran two yards for the game’s first touchdown. The unsuccessful extra point attempt left the score at 6-0 Freeland. Ogemaw Heights was able to take the lead before the half when they got a second quarter touchdown. Tyler Walters was able to run it in from two yards out, and Zea Kartes converted the extra point to make it 7-6.
In the third quarter, Ogemaw Heights extended their lead. Once again, it was Walters who scored from a yard out. The extra point attempt was blocked, leaving it at 13-6. This would be the score as the game entered the fourth quarter.
Freeland was able to draw within a point when sophomore quarterback Bryson Huckeby ran it in from two yards out. When Ogemaw Heights’ Mason Tousigna scored a nine yard touchdown with 2:24 to play, and then they added the two-point conversion, it was a 21-12 game. Things looked bleak for Freeland, and there would need to be some remarkable plays that went their way if they were going to capture the district title.
The first touchdown of the comeback was the most important, as Freeland first needed to make it a one score game. This was accomplished rather quickly, as Freeland needed just thirty one seconds to find the end zone. Huckeby paired up with Trey Morgan for a twenty five yard touchdown pass. The extra point by Jack Dreyer made it a 21-19 game. On the ensuing kickoff, Coach Kevin Townsend dialed up the onside kick attempt with hopes to get the football back.
Freeland was able to recover the football and they had 1:50 to get down the field and try to win the game. They were able to get all the way down to the six yard line, taking up nearly the entire game clock. With seventeen seconds to play, they trotted out Dreyer for a twenty three yard field goal attempt. This kick was successful, and this gave Freeland the 22-21 victory that earns them the district title.
The Division 5 playoff run continues for the Falcons, and they will try to earn their first regional championship since 1998 next week. Their opponent is still unannounced as they will face the winner of tomorrow’s district championship contest between Muskegon Oakridge (10-0) and Kingsley (10-0). Regardless of the winner, Freeland will take to the road, as both teams have had perfect records this year.