The Freeland Falcons were looking for their second straight district championship as they welcomed the Essexville Garber Dukes to town. The Dukes were starting Max Fellows a freshman at quarterback, his first start at the varsity level. Though the young gunslinger played tough, the Falcons were able to win this game 35-14.
In the first quarter, the scoring was limited. Only once did either team find the end zone, and it was Freeland’s Garrett Pistro who would power across the goal line. His five-yard run capped off a twelve-play, sixty-five yard march that would put the Falcons ahead 7-0 after the first quarter.
After an interception by Nolan VanLoo, Freeland began their second quarter possession on the Dukes’ thirty-one yard line. Two plays later, Pistro once again made his way into the end zone. This time, his seven yard run brought the lead to 14-0.
The Dukes would respond with a touchdown of their own, as Fellows found Colton Potts on a fifty-two yard scoring play. Before the half was over, Freeland would push their lead back out to fourteen points. After a key third down run of forty yards by Bryson Huckeby, he found freshman David Duley on an eleven yard touchdown pass. The Falcons would lead 21-7 at half.
Freeland started the third quarter squaring with a nine-play march that covered sixty-three yards and took up four minutes. Jacob Kundinger capped it off with a one-yard touchdown plunge. Garber would respond with a five-minute march of their own, and Alex Christie brought the Dukes back within two scores, 28-14, as the final quarter began.
On the last Freeland scoring drive, the Falcons faced a fourth down and six. On that pivotal play, Coach Kevin Townsend dialed up a pass play from the Garber 32-yard line. Bryson Huckeby found Easton Armstrong, who was able to go the distance for the touchdown.
With this victory, Freeland has now claimed a district title in two straight seasons. Next week, they will hit the road and take on the undefeated Reed City Coyotes in the regional finals. The Coyotes did not play this week, as their opponent Kingsley had to forfeit. Reed City has outscored their opponents 354-145 in eight games this year, topping the forty-point threshold five times. Their season high was seventy points in a win over Newaygo, so the Coyotes will be a tough test for the Freeland defense. That game will be LIVE on Michigan Sports Radio.