But thanks to a relentless offensive attack and timely plays from the defense and special teams, the Falcons escaped Pittsburg with a 49-48 victory.
Christian Montion’s interception with a minute remaining cemented the wild win for the Falcons. “We were playing a cover two, so I just dropped back in my flat,” Montion said. “It felt like a dream just seeing the ball right. I had to get it. You’ve got to take advantage of the opportunities that they give you.”
The game would still have gone into overtime had it not been for the Falcons special teams. Down seven points, Pittsburg senior Craijon Menefee scored his fifth touchdown of the night on a 28-yard, fourth-down sprint. Freedom senior lineman Bobby Montgomery blocked the extra-point kick to keep the Falcons’ lead at 49-48, which proved the difference. “It was time to step up; we had only a few minutes left,” Montgomery said. “We had to give it our all.
Freedom (5-2, 2-0 in the Bay Valley Athletic League) jumped out to a 21-7 lead after a quarter, but the Pirates outscored the Falcons 21-7 in the second quarter. When senior running back Jamal Lockett and junior Harris Ross scored on runs of 40 and 61 yards to open the second half, the Falcons were looking at a 42-28 deficit.
Freedom answered with three straight touchdowns to make it 49-42. “That’s a huge win,” Freedom head coach Kevin Hartwig said. “Anytime you can beat Pitt at Pitt, it’s a great thing. We talked last night that there are highs and lows, and we had them all tonight.”
As usual, Freedom was carried mainly by junior running back Joe Mixon and senior wide receiver Darrell Daniels. The only Falcons’ touchdown not scored by one of them came on a 77-yard TD pass in the Wildcat formation when Mixon was quarterback.
“It was crazy how we pulled it out,” Mixon said. “I told everybody on the team that it was going to be a dogfight all game, and that’s what it was.”
Mixon ran for only 31 yards on 16 carries, but caught five passes for 79 yards and three touchdowns. Daniels got the scoring started on a 38-yard reverse in the first quarter, and later notched what proved to be the decisive score on a 14-yard fade pass from Mayes.
Freedom is now tied with Deer Valley atop the BVAL. The Pirates (4-3, 1-1 in the Bay Valley Athletic League) travel to Deer Valley Oct. 19 to take on the Wolverines while Freedom hosts Antioch.
Regardless of who wins the BVAL, the Falcons know there’s a good chance they’ll see Pittsburg in the playoffs. “I hope so,” Daniels said. “Let’s do it again.”