(Editor’s note: For the complete football game story, with a box score, and additional photos, please visit theforecaster.net)
Freeport was the place to be during another superb Kickoff Weekend, which saw tons of success for local teams and Mother Nature remaining undefeated.
While longtime athletic director Craig Sickels was quick to point out that skies were clear for the 18th straight year, he and Falcons Nation were even happier to cite the school’s athletic success in the early going this fall.
Every team that participated this weekend was victorious, continuing a September trend.
The fun began Friday night with a bonfire that saw roughly 300 student-athletes and parents attend. Attention then turned to athletic events.
The team getting the most attention these days is the nascent football program, which, in just its third year, has propelled itself into playoff contention.
On the heels of an inspirational and perhaps program-turning 21-20 come-from-behind victory at Dirigo in the opener, the Falcons hosted Sacopee Valley Saturday afternoon and after a slow start, cruised to a 47-18 triumph.
Freeport took the ball down the field in its first possession and went up 7-0 when junior quarterback James Purdy found senior Kaleb Farmer for a 5-yard TD pass. The Hawks then scored successive touchdowns behind the bruising running of senior Ken Colvin, but before halftime, junior Dan Burke scored on a 4-yard run and Purdy and senior Chris Farley hooked up for a 53-yard scoring pass for a 21-12 advantage.
Another Purdy-to-Farley (9 yards) and a long run from senior Luke Lamagna (78 yards) put the Falcons up 35-12 after three. Purdy scored on a 1-yard run for a 41-12 advantage and after Corvin scored one final TD for the visitors, Lamagna returned the ensuing kickoff 76 yards to account for the 47-18 final score.
“I think we came in maybe a little too overconfident and it showed, but once we got into it and got down to business, we took care of the win,” said Purdy (4-of-9 passing for 71 yards and 3 TDs).
“We know we have to listen to the coaching staff so we don’t get overconfident and maybe a little bit cocky since we won our first game against a team we got crushed by,” said Lamagna (14 rushes, 155 yards and a TD).
Purdy and Lamagna weren’t the only offensive stars.
Senior Jared Knighton (who turned momentum with his long runs late in the first period with his team down) had 90 yards on 10 rushes. Burke finished with 37 yards and a score on eight attempts. Farley had two receptions for 62 yards and two scores. Farmer caught a pass for 5 yards and a TD. Burke had a reception for 4 yards.
“Passing allows us to be more versatile,” said coach Rob Grover. “As a coach, I have to use it better than I’ve been doing. When you throw the ball, three things happen and two are bad, but we’ll need passing against some teams down the stretch.”
Freeport finished with a 425-269 advantage in yardage.
“I think we were a little flat coming out, but we came around in the second half and put the game away,” said Grover.
The Falcons won’t rest on their laurels. Their schedule suggests they’ll have an opportunity to win just about every time out. While a big game looms Sept. 23 at Lisbon, Freeport first hosts first-year program Telstar Saturday and won’t be caught looking ahead.
“We’ll prepare all week,” said Purdy. “We’ll go into it like we’re playing any other team. We made some mistakes today we’ll have to work on. We’ll go into it pumped up and play our best game.”
“The kids’ hard work is paying off,” added Grover. “I look forward to next week and continuing on from there. Telstar has some seniors.”
Both soccer teams improved to 3-1 with wins Saturday.
The boys, who were victorious only twice in 2010, opened this year with a 7-0 home victory over Lake Region, but suffered a 2-1 loss at Gray-New Gloucester last Tuesday (despite Evan Hench’s goal). Goals from Connor Dietrich and Zach Greene led to a 2-0 win at Poland Thursday, setting the stage for a dramatic come-from-behind triumph Saturday.
Hosting North Yarmouth Academy with the McDougal Cup at stake, the Falcons found themselves down 3-1 at halftime. It turned out they had the Panthers right where they wanted them as they erupted for four unanswered second half goals and went on to a stirring 5-3 triumph. Greene and Jack Dawe both had two goals and Chris Collins also tickled the twine.
“We’re off to a good start,” said coach Joe Heathco. “We’re still making a lot of mistakes, but playing more as a team which is making a huge difference. I am very pleased with the effort and hustle the boys have been displaying so far. Zach Greene, Josh Wierich, Parker Matheson, Evan Hench, Landon Easler, Connor Cameron are all doing an especially good job leading us with their play and work ethic.”
Freeport’s road gets tougher going forward. After hosting York Wednesday, the Falcons visit defending Class B champion Yarmouth Friday and go to Greely Tuesday of next week.
“The season gets considerably more difficult starting with York tomorrow,” Heathco said. “It will be a real test of our character how we come out of the next two weeks. We have put ourselves in a positive position moving forward, so I hope we can get a couple more results in the weeks ahead.”
The girls opened with a 3-2 loss at Lake Region, but turned around and ripped off three wins in a row. After downing host Gray-New Gloucester (2-1, behind two goals from sophomore Ashley Richardson) and visiting Poland (2-0, Jess Hench and Jocelyn Davee scored), Freeport welcomed Wells Saturday and pitched another shutout behind senior goalkeeper Abby Roney, 3-0. Davee and juniors Naomi Otis and Aubrey Pennell had the goals.
“I’m very pleased with how the girls have been playing so far this season,” said coach Elayna Girardin. “We have a good balance between veteran players and new players to the starting lineup. I believe that the more they play this season they will gain more confidence and become stronger as they get more experience as individuals and as a team.
“I think one player of mine that greatly gets overlooked but has been having a great year so far is my goalie Abby Roney,” she added. “She is playing very strong and has made an impact on our team. I think we will see her continue this as we face some of the tougher teams in the next few weeks.
“Also, Naomi Otis has returned to us and it has made an impact,” she continued. “She is hardworking and a great physical presence on the field. She started for me as a freshman but got injured near the end of the season. Last year, she went to take a class in Texas and was not able to play. She has come back this year focused and in great shape.”
Freeport was at York Wednesday, hosts Yarmouth Friday and Greely Tuesday of next week.
Field hockey also began the week with a 3-1 mark. The Falcons enjoyed wins at Traip (6-2) and Waynflete (4-0) to start the year, but last Wednesday, they went to defending Class C champion NYA (the game was scheduled to be played on the grass at Freeport, but moved to NYA’s turf due to poor weather) and dropped a 3-0 decision.
“It was close,” said Falcons coach Sara Dimick. “We knew (NYA would) have an advantage playing on the turf. I know my girls were hard on themselves. They knew they probably could have played better. We just weren’t connecting that well today. We had good chances. It’ll be a good learning experience.”
Saturday, Freeport finally opened at home and downed Poland, 5-1, behind two goals each from Abigail Smith and Katie Turner and one from Kayla Thurlow. Smith and Abigail Mahoney had assists, while Meagan Peacock was cited by Dimick for her “relentlessness on the field and hard work.”
The Falcons were home against Sacopee Valley Tuesday and host Gray-New Gloucester Thursday.
“We’ve had some great wins and the girls have really improved significantly from preseason,” said Dimick. “We’re heading in the right direction.”
Cross country hosted Cape Elizabeth, Lake Region, Traip and Wells Saturday. The boys came in first behind individual winner Taylor Saucier (17 minutes, 52 seconds). The girls were second to the Capers. Ciera Wentworth placed second individually (21:39).
Freeport hosts another meet Friday versus Falmouth and Fryeburg.
Golf did not play last weekend, but took to the links Monday. The Falcons lost to both Yarmouth (6.5-0.5) and Fryeburg (4-3) to drop to 2-3 on the season. After playing at Old Orchard Wednesday, the Falcons go to Fryeburg Monday.
Freeport senior Jared Knighton (left) and junior Dan Burke do their best to slow Sacopee Valley senior Ken Corvin during Saturday afternoon’s contest. The Falcons pulled away in the second half for a 47-18 victory, their second in a row this fall.
Freeport senior Jared Knighton breaks into the open field. Knighton had 90 yards on 10 rushes.