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Written by: Daniel Reed on Saturday, November 21st, 2020
What started out a defensive battle between two very good teams throughout the first half, Freedom leading 9 to 7 at halftime, quickly turned into a shootout in the end.
Freedom scored first with a 50-yard touchdown drive that saw Deante Crawford evade several tackles and took it 22 yards to the end zone. The PAT was blocked and the Patriots led 6-0 with 2:42 left in the first quarter. After the Patriots forced a Nazareth punt, Freedom went down the field to the Blue Eagles 8 yard line only to suffer a sack for a huge loss, that gave kicker George Ferrey the opportunity to add to the Patriots lead by nailing a 33 yard field goal to make the score 9 to 0 with 8:31 left to play in the half.
The Blue Eagles finally got some rhythm going when they went 66 yards before Matt Bugbee darted into the end zone from a yard out with :09 left to play in the first half.
To begin the second half, Nazareth’s Dominic Felician sprinted 90 yards for a touchdown on the opening kickoff, putting the Blue Eagles ahead 14-9. After going back and forth on scoring drives for both squads, Nazareth’s Jaiden Cabrera’s huge kickoff return, all the way to Freedom’s 27-yard line in the closing minute of the third quarter. set up quarterback Matt Bugbee’s 1-yard TD run 4 plays later, pushing Nazareth’s lead to 31-22 with 11:29 to left to play in the game.
Freedom responded with a 72-yard drive, which culminated on quarterback Ethan Neidig taking a 15-yard draw for a score, cutting the Blue Eagles’ lead to 31-29 with 8:50 to play.
Nazareth needed only three plays to answer back when Freedom seemed to try an onside kick that Nazareth recovered. Matt Bugbee found Joe Capobianco wide open for a 49-yard reception down to the Freedom 4. RB-Tyler Rohn finished off the drive by taking it into the end zone to extend the Blue Eagles lead to 37-29 after the PAT was blocked, with 8:13 left to play.
As time ticked off the clock, Freedom got the ball one last time on their own 48 with 5:26 to play. The Patriots advanced to the Nazareth 15, where they faced fourth-and-11 with little time left to play. On the play, Freedom QB-Neidig hurled the ball toward the end zone, only to see it intercepted by the Blue Eagles as time expired.
With the victory, the undefeated Blue Eagles(9-0) captured their second straight District XI Class 6A Championship and 5th overall for the program.
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