**ARTICLE BY JOSH LONGSTRETH**
The Freeland Falcons came into this week off a thrilling 61-41 victory over North Branch last week in their playoff opener. Coming off their most points scored this season, the sky was the limit on their 2022 playoff outlook. This week they would travel to Goodrich to face a Martians team that is riding high with momentum as well. Goodrich comes in riding a 9-game winning streak. Last week the Martians cruised in their playoff opener over Ortonville Brandon, 42-14. This one wasn’t filled high scoring as both teams turned to defense.
The Falcons would jump on top in this one when Ty Fournier would blocked a FG attempt from Goodrich. Fournier would take it all the way back from 77-yards away to give Freeland an early lead. An unsuccessful 2-point try would put this at a 6-0 game, Freeland. They would take that lead into the half as both defenses came up big throughout the game. Freeland, couldn’t ask for more playing in hostile territory with one half of play over.
Defense would continue to lead the way in the 3rd. The Falcons would be the only one to get on the board in the stanza. After a 15-play 60-yard drive Freeland would settle with a FG attempt when Ethan Gosen would connect from 30-yards away. This would give the Falcons a 9-0 lead after 3 quarters of play.
Goodrich would get their offense going a bit finding their way into the endzone in the 4th. Jace Simmerson would put the Martians on the board on an 11-yard TD scamper. We had ourselves a 9-7 game to that point.
Late in the 4th Freeland would turn the ball over at their own 44-yard line with about 4:00 to go in the game. Goodrich would look to take advantage before their drive would stall forcing them to kick a 30-yard FG. It would be for not giving the ball back to Freeland with about 1:25 to play. The Falcons looking to pick up a 1st down to put the game away, could not and would be forced to punt with just 10 seconds remaining in the game. The unthinkable would happen. Goodrich would come up with a blocked punt setting up shop from the Falcon 8-yard line with 2 seconds left in the ballgame. Martian kicker Caden Kolonowski would drill a FG attempt. Goodrich comes up big late to upend Freeland, 10-9.
Playoff time can bring miracles. Unfortunately in this one it would go the Martians way. Freelands season will come to an end as they finish their year at 8-3. The Falcons finish what was another terrific season for their program. They’ll lose a lot of vital pieces from this seasons group but they return many as well. Look for Freeland to be near the top again in 2023.
Goodrich is now riding a 10-game winning streak and will have a district title in tow. The Martian defense was big in this one, especially late in the game. They now move on with the right to play in regionals where they will take on Orchard Lake St. Mary’s who is coming off a dominant win over Madison Heights Lamphere.