Midway through the fourth quarter, the senior defensive back scooped up a muffed punt deep in Deer Valley territory, setting up Freedom for the go-ahead score. After senior wideout Darrell Daniels scored on a five-yard run, the Falcons enjoyed a 21-14 lead they wouldn't relinquish.
“It was a business trip for us,” Daniels said. “We’re making a statement.”
Daniels not only scored the key touchdown for visiting Freedom (7-1, 2-1 Bay Valley Athletic League), he ensured the victory as well. With roughly a minute left on the clock, he intercepted Wolverines sophomore quarterback Nsimba Webster around midfield, returning it to the 1-yard line. Daniels also made six tackles and caught a three-yard touchdown pass that night.
Sophomore running back Joe Mixon led the Falcons offense, carrying the ball 16 times for 107 yards. He also intercepted Webster in the end zone shortly before halftime.
“We came out and played hard,” head coach Kevin Hartwig said. “Any time you can come out and beat a good opponent, it’s a good day. They’ve had our number.”
Freedom started strong, moving the ball down the field on its first drive for a touchdown strike from junior quarterback Dante Mayes to Daniels. The Wolverines (4-4, 2-1 BVAL) tied it up with roughly two minutes left in the first quarter on a six-yard pass from Webster to junior receiver Lee Ward III.
Early in the second quarter, the Falcons took the lead on a 17-yard reverse from Jordan Sheppard to give them a 14-7 lead they took into halftime.
Deer Valley made it a 14-14 game with about five minutes left in the third quarter on a QB sneak from Webster. The battle remained stalemated for much of the second half. With roughly seven minutes remaining, a punt took an awkward hop in front of the Wolverines’ James Guidry, bouncing off his helmet. An opportunistic Perez grabbed the live ball to give Freedom possession at the 15-yard line.
“We had a great week of practice; we just didn’t play well,” Deer Valley head coach Rich Woods said. “You’ve got to make those plays.”
Though he didn’t reach the end zone, junior halfback Shane Pooler played well for Deer Valley in relief of injured starter Matt Smith. Pooler racked up 111 yards on 25 carries. Senior linebacker Alani Tangitau led the Wolverines defense with six tackles.
The Falcons travel to Brentwood to face Heritage next week while the Wolverines hope to rebound against Antioch in the Mayor’s Cup.
A fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Nate Mallett to Christian Del Prado made all the difference for Freedom’s junior varsity team, which emerged with a 12-6 win over Deer Valley on Friday.
In the first quarter, Mallett also found Nick Garcia for a touchdown.
The Wolverines tied it up with roughly eight minutes left in the game when Shawn Stridiron caught a touchdown pass from Trey Ellis.
The Falcons advanced to 7-1 while Deer Valley fell to 3-4-1.
Other BVAL scores:
Liberty 30, Antioch 17
Pittsburg 42, Heritage 12