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Poking the Bear

Freeport’s defense rises up after allowing big plays

NEW KENSINGTON — Freeport’s defense gave up more points in the first quarter Friday than it normally allows in an entire game.

The Yellowjackets responded the only way they know how. After being stung by two long touchdowns, they clamped down on host Valley and clinched at least a share of the Allegheny Six Conference title with a 62-19 victory at Memorial Stadium.

Despite Valley (1-8, 0-4) being a heavy underdog, the game was knotted at 13 after the opening period.

“That first quarter was on me. We had some coverages that we didn’t execute properly and I didn’t have us prepared well enough,” said Freeport coach John Gaillot. “But we woke up after that.”

Freeport took control of the game with three touchdowns in the second quarter. Gavin Croney intercepted Valley’s Lamontae Jones, setting up Zach Clark’s 15-yard scoring run.

Jacksen Reiser blocked a punt deep in Valley territory following the Vikings’ next possession, which led to a four-yard touchdown run from Ben Lane and Croney connected with Brady Stivenson on a 56-yard pass that put the ‘Jackets up 34-13 at halftime.

Croney passed for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He also showed his versatility with a 28-yard scoring reception from Ben Lane in the first quarter.

“He threw a few passes last year, but played mostly on defense,” Gaillot said of Croney. “He’s tough as nails and has done a tremendous job this year, gets better every game.”

Freeport picked off Jones five times. Cyp Selinger returned the last one 27 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

The Yellowjackets (8-1, 4-0) were surprised to face a Valley offense led by Jones, who was making his first-ever start at quarterback in place of Tristan Goodwin.

“We had gone eight straight quarters without scoring on offense,” said Valley coach Dave Heavner. “We knew Lamontae had a strong arm and made the switch.

“Freeport was able to score a lot of points in a short time, though, and it was just too much for us to overcome.”

On Valley’s fourth offensive snap, Jones hit Zayaan Ferron on a 39-yard scoring play.

Ferron finished the game with nine catches for 111 yards.

Freeport answered with Lane’s scoring toss to Croney, but the Vikings came right back with Dallas Price’s 56-yard jaunt to the end zone.

“The first quarter was rough on defense,” said Croney, a cornerback. “I wasn’t expecting (Jones) to play. He’s got a bigger body and a bigger arm than we thought we’d be facing.”

Lane finished the game with 108 yards rushing and three scores. Clark scored once and chewed up 109 yards on just eight carries.

Freeport can clinch the conference title outright with a win at home against Deer Lakes next Friday.

“We’ve got great players and a great coaching staff,” said Croney. “I’m honored to be part of this team.”

“You don’t need to motivate these guys much,” added Gaillot. “They love the game and they love each other.”

Freeport 13 21 14 14 — 62

Valley 13 0 6 0 — 19

First Quarter

V — Zayaan Ferron 39 pass from Lamontae Jones (kick failed), 7:34

F — Gavin Croney 28 pass from Ben Lane (Isaac Wetzel kick), 5:07

V — Dallas Price 56 run (Xavier Wilson kick), 4:00

F — Lane 36 run (kick blocked), :31

Second Quarter

F — Zach Clark 15 run (Wetzel kick), 11:21

F — Lane 4 run (Wetzel kick), 9:53

F — Brady Stivenson 56 pass from Croney (Wetzel kick), 1:05

Third Quarter

F — Parker Lucas 43 pass from Croney (Wetzel kick), 11:48

F — Lane 3 run (Wetzel kick), 6:35

V — Wilson 6 run (kick failed), 2:15

Fourth Quarter

F — Cyp Selinger 27 interception return (Wetzel kick), 9:09

F — Dawson Gaillot 2 run (Wetzel kick), 7:20

Individual Statistics

Rushing: Freeport, Gavin Croney 3-(-14), Ben Lane 14-108, Zach Clark 8-109, Dawson Gaillot 2-14, Sean Selinger 3-(-5), Madden Wisniewski 1-40. Valley, Dallas Price 7-56, Jeremy Hughley 1-1, Lamontae Jones 4-2, Xavier Wilson 3-18, Anjay Chambers 3-3, Raydn Thomas 1-(-9), TEAM 2-(-19).

Passing: Freeport, Gavin Croney 7-11-139-0, Ben Lane 1-1-28-0. Valley, Lamontae Jones 12-23-122-5, Xavier Wilson 0-1-0-0.

Receiving: Freeport, Brady Stivenson 4-90, Parker Lucas 2-49, Ben Lane 1-0, Gavin Croney 1-28. Valley, Zayaan Ferron 9-111, Xavier Wilson 1-(-7), Darnell Coaston 1-10, Coury Pitts 1-8.

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