Last fall, Freeland suffered their first season-opening loss since 2010 when they couldn’t get past Frankenmuth. This fall, the Falcons were determined to avoid a repeated fate, and they took care of Clare 24-14.

Neither team scored in the opening quarter of the contest, though Freeland had offensive success on their first drive. Starting on their own five-yard line, they marched ninety yards before fumbling out of the end zone.

Freeland would finally strike first in the second quarter. Garrett Pistro rushed for a 7-yard touchdown, and Bryson Huckeby found Jacob Kundinger to extend the Falcons’ lead to 8-0. Clare would quickly respond, marching sixty yards in ten plays. Matt Harton capped off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, trimming the deficit to a single point.

Freeland would find the end zone once more in the second quarter, as Huckeby used his legs to find the end zone. After delivering some key passes, his 1-yard plunge and two-point conversion gave the Falcons a 16-7 halftime lead.

Clare would score the lone touchdown in the third quarter, with Harton once again scoring. He powered across the goal line on a 6-yard run that brought the Pioneers within two points. Freeland responded with a drive that neared the red zone, but they could not convert a crucial fourth down. Clare drove down deep into Falcons’ territory, but Jacob Kundinger thwarted their advance with his first interception of the season.

On the ensuing drive, Freeland had made progress downfield, but faced a pivotal fourth down and six. Bryson Huckeby was flushed out of the pocket, but as he rolled right, he took off running and the crafty veteran got ten yards and the first down. This led to a huge score for Freeland, as Nathan Levinson plowed into the end zone from a yard out. Huckeby would add on two points with a conversion run.

Freeland will hit the road next week for their TVC opener, the Falcons paying a visit to the Alma Panthers. Clare will begin Jack Pine Conference play against Sanford Meridian.