FHS wins on a rainy Friday
Pressure was a word Freedom football coach Jason Roeder used repeatedly following last week’s 14-7 win over Liberty in the opening round of the District 11 6A playoffs, but it was an accurate noun to describe what the Freedom players, coaches and fans endured for six days following a disappointing loss to the Hurricanes in the regular season finale.
Instead, all that mental and physical stress associated with taking on your arch rival in back-to-back weeks came to a head at BASD last week in a grind it out affair in a torrential downpour.
Quarterback Jared Jenkins scrambled for a five-yard TD run with 8:32 left in the fourth quarter to put the Pates (10-1) up 14-7 after a converted two -point conversion and that lead would hold for good.
“Our kids were under a ton of pressure and we tried to take it off of them after losing to Liberty,” said Roeder in reference to their 29-10 week 10 defeat to the Hurricanes. “Coming in being the number-one seed, they handled it well, but we knew there was a lot of pressure on us.”
The pressure was persistent all night, as Liberty (5-6) fought tooth and nail with their counterparts, trailing 6-0 at halftime following the game’s opening score of Jenkins finding Vince Reph for an 18-yard TD with 9:20 in the second quarter.
The Hurricanes found an answer in the third quarter when Dallas Holmes launched a 69-yard bomb to Javonte Haynes late in the third quarter to put the ‘Canes ahead 7-6 after a PAT.
With the pressure back on, the Patriots answered with a 74-yard scoring drive of their own, capped by Jenkins TD run.
Liberty had a chance for a comeback by getting the ball back with 3:02 left, but fumbled the ball back to the Patriots, who then ran the clock out.
“Our kids played their butts off, but at the end of the day Freedom made more plays when it counted,” said Liberty head coach John Truby. “I’m really proud of my guys.”
Jenkins finished the night 9-of-14 for 173 yards and two scores.
Liberty senior running back Nasir Legree ran for 149 yards on the night and became the program’s all-time leading rusher with 4,132 career yards.
The top-seeded Pates now move on to a battle with fourth-seeded Parkland (7-4), who have ended Freedom’s season two years in a row.
Parkland has won six straight district titles and fell by a 21-20 margin to Freedom on September 7.
Roeder and company know that pressure will be there again this Friday night, when the Pates host the matchup at 7 p.m. at BASD.
“We know we have our work cut out this week,” said Roeder. “We had a real close one with them earlier this season and I don’t expect anything different this time around.”