By PATRICK CASEY
Two Walton County schools separated by a mere 13 miles saw two plays make the difference in their District 1, Class A battle at South Walton High School on Friday night. Freeport made both of them.
David Wesson provided a 70-yard touchdown run and Nick Ellington a 56-yard interception return for the only scoring of the night as the Bulldogs picked up a 15-0 win over the Seahawks.
The game was a defensive battle for the majority of the night. Both teams moved the football a little, but not enough to put points on the board as turnovers and penalties, as well as solid defense, kept the two teams’ fans on their feet for most of the 48 minutes of play.
The total yardage between the two teams was nearly even but four South Walton turnovers helped Freeport win for the sixth consecutive time in the short history of the series as the Bulldogs remain tied atop the district standings with a 4-0 record.
South Walton kept Freeport bottled up with poor field position in the first half of play as the Bulldogs barely saw the Seahawks’ side of the field in the first 24 minutes. South Walton could not score, however, as a missed field goal and an interception stopped their two scoring threats to leave the game knotted in a scoreless tie at the half.
Freeport put the first points on the board on their first possession of the second half as senior running back David Wesson swept around the left side of his offensive line and raced down the Freeport sidelines for a 70-yard jaunt to paydirt for a 7-0 lead.
The Seahawks took advantage of a botched onside kick by the Bulldogs to move into field goal range but a Jonathan O’Hara attempt from 39 yards came up short to leave the home team scoreless.
The Seahawks defense held the Bulldogs after a fumble gave Freeport the ball at the Seahawks 36-yard line late in the third quarter, but Dylan Asbury was picked off on the next drive by Nick Ellington who raced down the Seahawks sideline for a 56-yard return for a touchdown. Kevin Caudill hit Paul Holmes with a two-point conversion pass and Freeport had a 15-0 lead with 9:44 left in the contest.
South Walton put together two drives from that point that resulted in a fumble on fourth down and a sack of Jay Gatto to end any scoring ideas the Seahawks would have on the night.
Freeport’s defense turned up the pressure in the second half as they recorded six sacks of Dylan Asbury and Jay Gatto on the night. Gatto relieved Asbury as quarterback in the fourth quarter after Asbury was picked off twice in the game. Freeport managed only five first downs on the night but got several big plays on defense to earn the win. Wesson led the Bulldogs with 74 rushing yards while Gatto had 69 yards on 25 carries for the Seahawks.
Freeport(4-1) will host Northview(5-0) in a first place showdown on Friday night while South Walton (3-3) will travel to Jay (0-5) as the Seahawks try to break their two-game losing streak. Kickoff for both contests is at 7 p.m.