FREEPORT — Playing for the top spot in Class E, Dirigo and Freeport both Friday night’s football game was big.

The Cougars came into Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field hoping to remain unbeaten. The Falcons, though, had other plans, and shut down the Dirigo offense in the second half to pull away for a 34-14 victory.

Leading the way for Freeport was Adam Ulrickson, who rushed for 180 yards and three touchdowns. He also took the opening kickoff 75 yards for the game’s first score.

“That right there was awesome, that really set the tone of the game,” Freeport coach Paul St. Pierre said. “Our kickoff team is playing so well right now, we want the ball right off the bat to get the momentum started. It’s an extra weapon that most teams don’t have right now.”

Following the opening score, Dirigo responded by moving the ball down the field with big rushes from Dallas Berry and Alex Gorham. The nine-play drive ended with Gorham darting into the end zone for a 3-yard score to tie the game 6-6 less than four minutes in.

Freeport nearly broke the tie early in the second quarter. On fourth-and-11 from the Dirigo 11-yard line, quarterback Anthony Panciocco scrambled down the right sideline only to step out of bounds at the two-yard line to turn the ball over on downs.


Despite not scoring, St. Pierre was happy with the way his offense ran.

“I’m a little surprised how well they clicked tonight. We had a funny week of practice. Pretty much the whole team was sick. We didn’t have a single practice this week with all of our starting unit there,” St. Pierre said. “We brought our starters out before the game tonight and ran some plays.”

The momentum was swinging to Freeport’s side as the second quarter progressed, and it forced another punt from the visitors. Four plays later, Ulrickson took advantage of some solid blocking and scored a 30-yard touchdown to put the Falcons back ahead.

“I have to give all the credit to my line, they do all of the hard work, I just run the ball,” Ulrickson said. “(Linemen) Matt Hinds, Nate Hinds, Alex Hanna, Jon Doyle and Cam Curit Derosiers, they all came up big for us tonight.”

After another Dirigo (4-1) punt, the Freeport offense put together a quick three-play, 90-yard drive, highlighted by a 71-yard run by Panciocco to jump ahead 20-6 after Caden Benedict’s score from 18 yards out.

The Falcons took a 20-6 lead into the halftime break, outgaining the Cougars in rushing yards, 216-89.


Dirigo wasted no time scoring to start the second half. A 65-yard drive that only took five plays behind the rushing of Gorham had the Cougars trailing 20-14 early in the third quarter.

“They came out strong. They put it right down our throats. I told the kids, this is a real ball game,” said St. Pierre after the Cougar touchdown.

Freeport fumbled for the second time in the game on its next drive, but Dirigo was unable to capitalize.

Ulrickson took over from there. The junior rushed the ball three times, gaining 56 yards and finishing the drive off with a 34-yard touchdown run that seemed to take the life out of the Cougars.

“He’s a strong runner with great speed. What a great kid with a good head on his shoulders,” St. Pierre said.

Freeport took care of Dirigo on the next drive with a sack by Hunter Demers for a loss of 11 yards. A forced fumble followed on the next play that was recovered by the Falcons.


“That’s a good team right there, they could beat a lot teams in (Class) B,” Dirigo coach Jim Hersom said. “The second half they beat us on the line. We were right there with them at halftime. But they were blitzing their linebackers every play and we didn’t have an answer for that.”

Freeport used its balanced running attack to put Dirigo away, getting four key first downs from an unlikely source. Colby Petrin, a lineman by trade, recently joined the team and is becoming acclimated with the run game.

“He was a lineman that has always run the ball before,” St. Pierre said. “He showed up to the team late this year and we haven’t had time to put him in the backfield. After his interception last week where no one could bring him down, we thought we could try it this week and it worked.”

Petrin ran the ball five times for 20 yards, including four of the rushes for first downs.

The Falcons were able to run out the clock, earning their fourth victory of the season against one defeat.

Freeport rushed for a whopping 375 yards, while holding the Cougars to 196 totals yards (181 rushing). Gorham paced Dirigo with 153 yards on 20 carries, while Berry rushed for 32 first-half yards.

“We’ll grow from this, we’ll get better,” Hersom said. “Our kids are great and want to get back at it on Monday and restart.”

After Ulrickson, Benedict ran for 99 yards and Panciocco finished with 80 for the Falcons.

“The kids were hungry. After last week’s game against Telstar, some of them got pulled early for subs and I think they wanted to get back out there tonight and play a full game,” St. Pierre said.

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