By REID TUCKER
Freeport rocked Rocky Bayou Christian with a 34-20 win to take the Bulldogs into the start of the state playoffs.
The game, the last of both teams’ regular seasons, saw Freeport (8-2) jump to a three-touchdown lead by the end of the first quarter. The Knights were kept from scoring until the third quarter, by which time Freeport had switched in a swath of non-starters, a couple of which also scored touchdowns for the Bulldogs. However, the switch to younger players is what ultimately led to the fumble that allowed Rocky Bayou (2-8) to get on the board in the first place.
Nevertheless, Freeport coach Jim Anderson said getting game time for the whole team before the first round of the state playoffs was his intention all along.
“We have some things to work on but we wanted to let some [non-starters] get to play tonight,” Anderson said. “Everybody got to play, so we’re really happy about that. Some of our young guys learned some things and got some good experience. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time working on Rocky Bayou stuff. We’re focused on Liberty County at this point.”
Freeport got about its business in a hurry, with Caleb McCormick scoring on a 38-yard touchdown pass from Dakota Davis with 8:09 still to go in the first quarter. Kevin Caudill took possession for the Bulldogs on the 46-yard line after the Knights were forced to punt, though a loss of 10 yards pushed Freeport back across the 50.
After three hard-fought downs, Caudill ran the ball to a first down on the 14, enabling Zack Waldrip to run the rest of the distance to the end zone on the subsequent play. A fumble on Rocky Bayou’s next possession was recovered on the 15-yard line by Freeport’s Zack Fordem, again priming the Dogs for a touchdown in spite of a loss of five yards. With just 13 seconds left in the quarter, Caudill ran the remaining distance to score the Dogs’ third touchdown of the evening, which, accompanied by a good point after kick by Jordan Varner, made the score 21-0 in Freeport’s favor.
Almost immediately into the second quarter, Freeport forced a punt from Rocky Bayou and took over on the 35. Just two plays later Owen Cole scored a fourth touchdown on a 32-yard pass from Davis with 9:59 left until the half. Freeport forced yet another punt on the Knights’ next possession, though McCormick bobbled a completion from Davis, resulting in a loss of five yards. Starting from their 44 yard line, Freeport got a first down but McCormick again dropped a pass and even though he recovered the ball the Dogs were forced to punt for the first time yet in the game.
Rocky’s turn of good luck didn’t last long, though, as Freeport quickly forced another punt and took the ball on their 46-yard line. Things continued to look good for the Bulldogs as a 15-yard penalty was levied on Rocky Bayou for helmet-to-helmet contact shortly thereafter, but the half came to an end before Freeport could put anything else together.
The Knights came out stronger than ever in the third quarter, recovering a fumble by Freeport on the Bulldogs’ 35, which they ran to seven-yard line before being brought down. A few plays and one 5-yard penalty on the offense later, Rocky Bayou’s James Waldron scored the Knights’ first touchdown with 9:19 remaining.
Freeport stopped the two-point conversion attempt and Nick Ellington ran 24 yards to the 44-yard line on the ensuing possession before being brought down out of bounds. Ellington teamed up with Cole to run for a first-and-goal on the five-yard line, and Caudill made it across the goal line on the next play, scoring the Bulldogs’ final touchdown of the game….
Read the full story in the Nov. 18, 2010 edition of the Herald Breeze.