Junior running back Joe Mixon carried the ball 15 times for 162 yards and four rushing touchdowns. He added a fifth TD on an 80-yard strike from Dante Mayes, who also hit senior receivers Devontae Young and Darrell Daniels on scoring plays of 32 and 61 yards, and added two more with his feet.
“The mindset coming into the game was just attack because it was either win or go home,” Mixon said. “Our linemen have been doing a great job the last few weeks.”
Their defense stung into submission, Berkeley’s offense did little to compensate. Aside from one 72-yard touchdown heave from junior Lamont Smith to senior tight end Xavier Nelson, Berkeley’s offense was anemic.
“Defensively we’re playing great,” Freedom head coach Kevin Hartwig said. “We’re just clicking right now on offense and defense. We’ve put our backups in two weeks in a row and haven’t given up a point. We just wanted to set a statement about who we are.”
While it looked like a Freedom mismatch coming in, Berkeley entered the playoffs as a team on a roll. Like the Falcons, the Yellowjackets won their league with a perfect 5-0 record, not allowing more than 14 points per game against league opponents.
But Mixon proved early on that Berkeley hadn’t devised a defensive scheme to stop the Falcons. Early in the game, Mixon appeared stopped behind the line of scrimmage but maintained his balance and ran all the way across the field and scored from 22 yards out.
Freedom’s playoff campaign won’t get easier. The Falcons go on the road Nov. 17 to play No. 3 James Logan. Like Freedom, the Colts are a high-scoring squad coming off a 56-8 shellacking of Irvington.
“We’re going to work even harder,” Daniels said. “That’s going to be a fun one.”