FREEPORT — The Freeport football team entered Monday’s game against Oak Hill with something to prove after suffering its biggest setback of the season, a blowout loss to Winthrop/Monmouth/Hall-Dale, a week earlier.

“Last week wasn’t like us, we didn’t want to let that happen again,” Freeport senior Danny Casale said. “We didn’t want to have that same feeling again.”

The Falcons are feeling much better after jumping out to a 20-point lead in the first 3:18 of Monday’s game and rolling to a 41-19 victory over Oak Hill (4-2), which was coming off a shortened week of practice due to COVID-19 issues.

Casale picked off Raiders quarterback Jackson Arbour on the first play of scrimmage and took it back 67 yards for a touchdown. Casale said that he thinks that interception set the tone for the rest of the game.

“That gave us the jolt we needed,” he said. “Last week, the secondary, including myself, had a terrible game. Today I needed to prove why I’m a starter and why I’m a senior captain.”

On the Raiders’ next drive, Casale picked off Arbour again. He returned this one to the 5-yard line, setting up a touchdown run by Jordan Knighton, who led the Falcons with 118 rushing yards on 13 carries. He scored three times, on runs of 5, 39 and 26 yards.

“The schedule has thrown us all off,” said Freeport head coach Paul St. Pierre, whose team was playing in its second consecutive Monday game. “Things will be back to normal this week with the bye.”

Nick White added 57 yards of rushing for Freeport.

Caden Thompson paced Oak Hill with 59 yards on nine carries. He had a 12-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter.

“I thought we ran the ball well, we have a lot of positives we can take away from tonight,” said Oak Hill head coach Chad Stowell, whose team practiced just once in 10 days before Monday’s game due to COVID-19 issues. “Credit to them (Freeport), but I think we all know this wasn’t our best game.”

Arbour finished 6 of 14 through the air for 83 yards with two interceptions.

“It was pretty tough for us to overcome how we started,” said Stowell. “It puts a lot of pressure on us. We had some good drives and took care of the football later. The start just wasn’t how we wanted it.”

Oak Hill got contributions from Tiger Hopkins and Maverick Swan. Hopkins had 53 yards of total offense while Swan finished with 14 yards and a touchdown.

“The lack of depth and time to prepare showed tonight,” Stowell said. “They (Freeport) were able to use their athleticism and strength to take care of business.”

The Falcons’ defense had two touchdowns. The second came when Jackson Carr stripped Arbour on a sack and Jacob Benjamin recovered the fumble and returned it for a touchdown. Benjamin’s touchdown ultimately put the game out of reach in the third quarter, pushing the Freeport lead to 27.

“The defense was ready for anything that we were going to get,” said Casale. “The seniors have never lost on this field, and it surely wasn’t going to be tonight.”

The Falcons honored their seniors before the game, adding to the anticipation of the game for Casale and his teammates.

Freeport quarterback Aidan Heath finished 3 of 5 through the air for 40 yards and a touchdown. He found Tony Casale midway through the second quarter on a toss from 10 yards that gave Freeport a 20-point lead.

The Falcons, with a scheduled bye this week, will wait to find out their seeding in the Class D postseason.

Stowell said that Oak Hill also won’t play until the postseason begins.

“This is a time for us to recharge and get ready for the playoffs,” said Stowell. “We have some work we have to do before then, the guys will be ready to attack it.”


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