No. 6 Freedom committed five turnovers en route to a 33-18 season-ending loss to No. 3 Logan.
“It was a great season,” said Freedom head coach Kevin Hartwig. “Unfortunately, it ended that way, but when you turn the ball over five times, you can’t win a game.”
Mayes was picked off by junior Victor Fualaau on the first play of the game. Six plays later, senior Warren Long rumbled into the end zone on fourth down to give the Colts a 7-0 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Freedom had given up a mere minus-two yards rushing in its past two games, but amid intermittent bouts of rain, Long slid through the Falcons’ defense all night. The 6-foot, 200-pound running back finished with 290 yards rushing, including touchdown runs of 18, 12 and two yards.
Freedom struggled on offense as well. Entering the contest averaging 40 points per game, the reigning Bay Valley Athletic League champs sputtered to their lowest point total of the season.
Junior running back Joe Mixon put Freedom on the board when he scampered into the end zone with 54 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Falcons’ deficit to 27-10.
Mixon also scored Freedom’s other TD on a one-yard burst with 55 seconds left – but Freedom still trailed by 15.
Freedom scored its first points of the game on a safety when a wild snap flew over the head of Logan senior Jeffrey Prothro to cut the Falcons’ deficit to 20-2 with a 1:50 left in the first half.
On the ensuing possession, the Falcons drove the ball inside Logan’s 10-yard line, but time expired before Freedom could score.
“We had a great season,” said senior wide receiver Darrell Daniels, who will move on to the University of Washington next season. “I wouldn’t ask to be on another team to come this far with. I just love my team.”
In addition to the three touchdowns by Long, Logan scored on a two-yard quarterback sneak by Prothro, and on an eight-yard lob to senior tight end Ryan Bua to extend Logan’s lead to 27-2 midway through the third quarter.
In their final games, Mayes finished with 175 passing and Daniels snatched nine receptions for 85 yards.
The senior tandem were instrumental this year in helping Freedom win its first outright Bay Valley Athletic League title during its second consecutive winning season.
The loss gives the Falcons a 9-3 overall record; 5-0 in the BVAL.
“It was a great year,” Hartwig said. “I’m very proud of what we accomplished.”