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Freeport’s Adam Ulrickson breaks away for a touchdown during the Falcons’ win in Saturday’s Class E final.
Freeport’s Connor Fox, left, and Danny Casale celebrate late in the Falcons’ 28-13 win over Dirigo in Saturday’s Class E state final.
It’s fair to say that the Freeport football team made the most of its lone year at the Class E Developmental League level.
Saturday, at the Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field, the Falcons outlasted Dirigo, 28-13, to win the Class E championship.
Freeport, which went 1-7 last fall in Class C, moved up to Class E this season, a nine-team league started in 2017 for programs struggling with numbers and competition, gives the Falcons a title to build from.
Freeport won seven of eight regular season games, falling only at Poland, 43-12, back in week two. As the top seed for the Class E playoffs, the Falcons advanced with a 12-6 win over No. 4 Telstar to earn the right to take part in a championship game for the first time in program history.
Saturday, after a scoreless first quarter, Freeport raced to a 22-0 halftime lead behind an 80-yard touchdown run from Caden Benedict and TD runs of 38- and 4-yards from Adam Ulrickson.
Dirigo got back within 22-7 heading for the fourth quarter and there, the Cougars got another touchdown to make it a nine-point game before Benedict iced it with a 45-yard touchdown scamper on a fake punt.
“It wasn’t a called play, but I called to our long snapper “two, two, two” and he got the message to snap it to me,” said Benedict. “Tre (Morris), our punter, didn’t even know we were doing that.
“I decided to take it outside, and (Dirigo) crashed it inside trying to block the punt. It was a big call for us. I was just trying to get the first down, but no one was there so I kept on running.”
“I really trust Caden; he’s one of our smartest players,” Freeport coach Paul St. Pierre said. “If he didn’t make it, (Dirigo) still had a long way to go. We tell them, you are on the field, if you see something, trust your instincts, and it really worked out today.”
The Falcons then ran out the clock on their 28-13 victory and finished the year 9-1.
“It’s insane, we’ve been working so hard for this,” said Benedict, who had 137 rushing yards. “This group has been together since first grade. We’ve had some rough patches but we’ve been working so hard for this its just amazing to feel this type of feeling.”
“Class E was great for us,” said St. Pierre. “ We won more games this year than we had in the five years previous. We just physically couldn’t compete in the other classes so I think what Class E did for us and the other programs is just provide us the opportunity to play football at a competitive level, a safe level.
“This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of different people. Parents, coaches, and players. Not just this season, but years past. It’s just a culmination of a lot of hard work for a lot of years, by a lot of people.”
Nose tackle Treyvon Murhammer led a strong defensive effort with 13 tackles.
“I just followed the coaches’ plans,” said Murhammer. “I clogged up the middle; (it’s) what I’ve been doing all year. It seemed to work out.”
Press Herald writer Brad Spiegel and Times Record writer Chris Quattrucci contributed to this story.