“That was our first goal (to win the BVAL), so now we’re in “season three” in the playoffs,” said Freedom head coach Kevin Hartwig. “We got new life, a whole new season and a new focus, so I’m excited.”
Senior wide receiver Darrell Daniels and junior running back and defensive back Joe Mixon scored two touchdowns apiece as Freedom defeated Liberty, earning a seventh straight Bell Game trophy.
The victory also entitled the Falcons to a No. 6 seed in the North Coast Section playoffs. They’ll host No. 11 Berkeley on Nov. 10.
Mixon got the Falcons flying on a seven-yard run with a minute remaining in the first quarter to put Freedom up 7-0. From there, the Falcons (8-2, 5-0 in the BVAL) soared to an easy W, scoring four times in the second quarter to post a 35-0 halftime lead. They never looked back.
“It’s a great feeling,” Daniels said. “ We worked hard all season to get this. I’m real excited right now.” Daniels scored on a 15-yard run 20 seconds into the second quarter to increase the Falcons’ lead to 14-0. Later in the quarter, senior quarterback Dante Mays found Daniels down the sideline for a 26-yard TD strike to put Freedom on top 35-0.
Mixon, who scored the game’s first touchdown and finished with 58 yards on nine carries, also returned an interception 65 yards to put Freedom up 28-0.
“Man, it’s crazy,” Mixon said. “From the preseason, all we had to say was ‘win league.’ We sealed the deal after Deer Valley, so this is a nice achievement for us.”
Freedom’s other two scores came on a 15-yard reception by senior Nenwon Gbilia and a 46-yard catch by senior fullback Andrew Werkheiser.
Despite the lopsided loss, Liberty head coach Nate Smith expressed pride in his team for the fight it showed in the game and throughout the season. The Lions (2-8, 0-5) fielded no returning players at their positions from last year’s season opener.
“I think our seniors played hard,” Smith said. “Only one of them had started a varsity game before this year, and our juniors and sophomores played hard. We have a good sophomore group coming up, so the sky’s the limit for what these kids can do down the road.”
Liberty QB Junior Ivan Oseguera finished 9-for-21 for 73 yards, and junior Cody Maghuyop notched 14 carries for 44 yards. Junior Connor Green made three receptions for 32 yards.
Freedom’s game against Berkeley kicks off Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. at Freedom High School.