Freeport handles Lakers 33-6, take upperhand in playoff race

 

WHAT A GRAB! — Lake Region wide receiver Quinn Piland out leaps a Freeport defender along the sideline for a big gain. (Rivet Photos)

WHAT A GRAB! — Lake Region wide receiver Quinn Piland out leaps a Freeport defender along the sideline for a big gain. (Rivet Photos)

By Wayne E. Rivet

Staff Writer

FREEPORT — The word playoff has rarely been spoken of as Lake Region stumbled to one-win or winless seasons over the past five to six years.

Saturday should have been a playoff in the minds of this year’s Lakers as they battled Freeport for the sixth and final tournament seed.

Heading into the game, the Lakers were slightly ahead of the Falcons in the recent Crabtree standings, despite each club posting 2-3 records.

For whatever reason — even LR Coach Brian Jahna had a tough time coming up with an answer — the Lakers fell totally flat on both sides of the ball. Freeport pounded the ball early, and then caught the LR secondary napping late as the Falcons rolled to a 33-6 victory. Defensively, the Falcons were determined to stuff the LR rushing attack, leaving senior Cody Gibbons (15 carries for 65 yards) with few clean lanes to run. Well-timed blitzes left rookie LR quarterback Douglas Banks either on his back or had him throwing the ball much earlier than he wanted, darting too many tosses into the turf or off the mark (two completions in nine attempts, 41 yards).

“They came hard at us with a lot of people early on and it resulted in a chain reaction. We were hurrying our throws, not really looking at where the receivers were and throwing to a spot because they were coming at us really fast. The receivers tried to adjust their routes, knowing he (Banks) was getting rid of the ball quicker. When you have to face pressure, like we were, everything was off,” Coach Jahna said.

LR tried to establish the run in the first series with Gibbons getting all three calls. He was stopped for a yard loss on a third-and-short call, forcing the Lakers to punt. Sophomore punter Marcus Devoe, who has been quite consistent with either deep drives or well-placed kicks all season, pinned Freeport back on their own 16. No matter, the Falcons erased bad field position as David Schaedler (16 carries, 135 yards) lugged the ball twice for 11-yard gains. After five straight rushes, the Falcons went to the air as quarterback Eli Fox found junior Jake Perry all alone down the right side for a 59-yard TD strike. Eric Wentworth booted the extra point for a 7-0 lead at the 7:54 mark.

HEADED FOR THE END ZONE — Freshman Dakota Stover beats Freeport's Jake Perry to the end zone for Lake Region's only points of the day.  FREEPORT 33 LAKERS 6 First Downs: LR 9, FRE 13 Penalties: LR 5-25, FRE 4-25 Turnovers: LR 3, FRE 2 Rushing: LR 36-152, FRE 41-228 Passing: LR 2-10-41, FRE 5-9-97 Total Yards: LR 193, FRE 315 Individual Rushing: LR, Cody Gibbons 15-65, Erik Christensen 5-5, Quinn Piland 1-9, Douglas Banks 2-(9), Gunnar Harriman 4-32, Luke Porter 5-9, Dakota Stover 1-20, Cole Jakobs 1-0, Lexus Rodriguez 2-21; FRE David Schaedler 16-135, Joe Nixon 7-49, Max Doughty 3-6, Ben MacMillan 4-4, Tyler Julian 2-19, Dakota Rumery 1-1, Brady Lafrance 4-0 Tackles (solo, assist, total): LR, Cody Gibbons 5-2-7, Cam Harriman 1-0-1, Jay Justison 2-2-4, Gunnar Harriman 0-2-2, Sean Edwards 4-1-5, Quinn Piland 2-2-4, Donovan Eaton 1-2-3, Taylor Barker 1-0-1, Erik Christensen 2-3-5, Dakota Stover 1-0-1, Dan Neault 1-0-1, Todd Crawford 1-0-1, RJ Legere 1-2-3, Nick Wandishin 1-1-2, Nolan Abrams 1-0-1

HEADED FOR THE END ZONE — Freshman Dakota Stover beats Freeport's Jake Perry to the end zone for Lake Region's only points of the day.
FREEPORT 33
LAKERS 6
First Downs: LR 9, FRE 13
Penalties: LR 5-25, FRE 4-25
Turnovers: LR 3, FRE 2
Rushing: LR 36-152, FRE 41-228
Passing: LR 2-10-41, FRE 5-9-97
Total Yards: LR 193, FRE 315
Individual Rushing: LR, Cody Gibbons 15-65, Erik Christensen 5-5, Quinn Piland 1-9, Douglas Banks 2-(9), Gunnar Harriman 4-32, Luke Porter 5-9, Dakota Stover 1-20, Cole Jakobs 1-0, Lexus Rodriguez 2-21; FRE David Schaedler 16-135, Joe Nixon 7-49, Max Doughty 3-6, Ben MacMillan 4-4, Tyler Julian 2-19, Dakota Rumery 1-1, Brady Lafrance 4-0
Tackles (solo, assist, total): LR, Cody Gibbons 5-2-7, Cam Harriman 1-0-1, Jay Justison 2-2-4, Gunnar Harriman 0-2-2, Sean Edwards 4-1-5, Quinn Piland 2-2-4, Donovan Eaton 1-2-3, Taylor Barker 1-0-1, Erik Christensen 2-3-5, Dakota Stover 1-0-1, Dan Neault 1-0-1, Todd Crawford 1-0-1, RJ Legere 1-2-3, Nick Wandishin 1-1-2, Nolan Abrams 1-0-1

Gibbons broke loose for a 17-yard gain into Freeport territory on the next possession, but a fumble ended the threat.

Freeport took advantage of the short field, marching 47 yards in seven plays with Schaedler scoring from 24 yards out. The extra point was no good.

Needing a big play to turn momentum around, the Laker defense ripped the ball loose from Freeport running back Ben MacMillan, which was recovered by linebacker Jay Justison at the FRE-24. On second down, freshman Dakota Stover found a crease over the right side, and turned on the burners to beat the Falcon secondary to the end zone for a 20-yard score at 10:55 in the second quarter. Devoe was unable to attempt the extra point try after a high snap sailed over holder Banks’ head.

With the Laker defense becoming more stout against the Freeport ground game, linebacker Cody Gibbons knocked the ball free, giving his club a chance to tie the game.

Freeport’s defense tightened as Chandler Harrison dumped LR’s Erik Christensen for a five-yard loss. Facing 4th-and-7 at the FRE-37, Coach Jahna rolled the dice. Instead of punting, he decided to go for the first down. The gamble backfired as Luke Porter was dropped for a three-yard loss by Sean Purdy.

Four plays later, Freeport scored on a third-down pass, Fox to Perry from 17 yards out with 3:16 left until halftime. Wentworth’s extra point made it 20-6.

“I was just trying to establish some momentum. We were flat. We had some breakdowns today where some teammates weren’t overly supportive. We needed something positive going for us, so I took a shot at it,” Coach Jahna said.

The Lakers did mount a late drive before halftime as Nick Wandishin timed his leap perfectly to pluck a high toss away from a Freeport defender, good for 23 yards. Gibbons picked up a yard on fourth down to keep the drive moving, and LR nearly caught Freeport being a little too aggressive when a reverse resulted in Quinn Piland racing for nine9 yards. Piland, however, failed to get out of bounds on the play, leaving the Lakers with a Hail Mary toss that fell incomplete.

Freeport took command of the game by scoring on its first two possessions of the second half.

Drive 1: 10 plays, 55 yards. Key plays, Schaedler gaining 17 yards on fourth down, Fox to Perry for 22 yards on a toss over the middle. LR’s Erik Christensen stuffed Joe Nixon for no gain on first down, but Schaedler punched it in from a yard out at 7:15. FRE 27, LR 6.

Drive 2: Recovering a bad LR pitch, Freeport goes 53 yards on seven plays. Key plays, Nixon 23 yard run, Fox to Perry over the middle from four yards out with 3:22 left in the third. FRE 33, LR 6.

“We saw a lot of four-man fronts. They brought their linebackers right up to create six or seven-man fronts, something we didn’t see them do on tape. Most of the time, they kept them back. They studied our film, and decided to bring pressure,” Coach Jahna said. “Defensively, we didn’t make stops and started putting our heads down.”

Both teams tried to cap long fourth quarter drives with field goal attempts, but Freeport’s boot came up short, while the Lakers’ attempt with two seconds left never got off the ground due to a high snap.

While the loss did sting, Coach Jahna was more disappointed with his club’s lack of togetherness — a character trait, which has kept the team competitive all season.

“We can’t be competitive if we don’t rally behind each other. We talk about it all the time. If we play a football game together and play hard, we will be okay no matter what the score is. Today, forget about the score, we can’t feel very good about this game because we didn’t play hard all the time nor did we stick together all of the time. That is concerning, but we’ll address it,” Coach Jahna said. “The reality is Freeport was emotionally ready, and we weren’t.”

Next: The Lakers (2-4) host Spruce Mountain this Friday night at 7 p.m. The Phoenix (5-1) are “explosive” and coming off a 56-19 win over Gray-NG. Spruce has wins over Poland (26-23), Cape Elizabeth (36-14), Mountain Valley (45-8) and Freeport (53-20). The lone loss was a 20-15 decision to Wells.

“We need to play together or we will be in trouble,” Coach Jahna said.

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