Shortly after the game started, the Falcons proved they wanted first place all to themselves. After the Wolverines scored on the first play from scrimmage, Freedom scored the next 34 points, allowing only one more garbage-time touchdown, to beat Deer Valley 34-14.
“We came out a little rusty,” said Freedom senior receiver Darrell Daniels. “They came out and got a quick touchdown and it was a wakeup call. We came out and executed really well after that.”
The Wolverines scored on the first play from scrimmage on a quarterback keeper. Junior Nsimba Webster got free on the end and ran for a 52-yard TD. After Joe Mixon threw an interception, Deer Valley drove into the Freedom red zone. After its drive stalled, a missed field goal kept the game at 7-0. From that point on, it was all Freedom.
Senior quarterback Dante Mayes hit Daniels on a 10-yard touchdown pass to tie the game. A Wolverine scoring threat was halted on a fumble recovered by senior lineman Bobby Montgomery. Mixon, who ran for 103 yards, scored the first of two TDs on the ensuing possession to give Freedom a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.
The back-breaker for Deer Valley came in the final few minutes of the first half. The Wolverines appeared to have tied the game with a pick-six, but a block in the back nullified the score. Three plays later, junior safety Johnell Green intercepted a Webster pass at midfield. Three plays after that, Mayes hit senior receiver Devontae Young on a 27-yard scoring strike as time expired in the first half to give Freedom a 21-7 lead.
“I told my quarterback to just give me a chance, and that if he put the ball up there, I’d get it for him,” Young said. “That’s exactly what he did, and that’s exactly what happened.”
Mixon scored one touchdown in the third quarter, and senior kicker Nenwon Gbila added two field goals for Freedom. Deer Valley posted the game’s final points when running back Shane Pooler scored from two yards out.
“Our team played real well tonight,” Mixon said. “We came out a little flat in the first quarter, but we turned it on after that first touchdown. After that, we attacked and came out with a W.”
Freedom’s next matchup is with Liberty in the Bell Game. A win gives Freedom its first-ever outright league title. Despite the Lions’ winless status in league play, the Falcons aren’t looking past them.
“We challenged our guys,” said Freedom head coach Kevin Hartwig. After Pitt, we had the same challenge to avoid a letdown. The only thing we talked about is Liberty High School. They’re a good program, a good team. It’s a rivalry game, so you throw all records out in those kinds of games and you play.”
The Bell Game is played Nov. 2 at Liberty; Deer Valley travels to Heritage. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.