Freeport football team reflects on fortitude after rally comes up short

Saturday, August 31, 2019 | 10:38 PM

Freeport football coach John Gaillot was emotional Friday night when asked to evaluate his team’s performance in a 35-27 loss to Big East Conference rival Derry.

The Trojans owned three-touchdown leads on two occasions in the second half, but the visiting Yellowjackets responded with two fourth-quarter scores and had the ball with a little more than two minutes left and a chance to tie the score.

The final Freeport offensive attempt, however, ended on downs at its 31.

“They had so many opportunities to quit, not put forth the effort and go through the motions after facing a lot of adversity,” Gaillot said. “Derry could’ve added on to what they already had because they are so well-coached, physical and just a well-rounded football team. But our guys kept battling. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves. Sometimes, you get punched in the mouth. It’s how you respond (that) is the measure of your team.”

Freeport turned the ball over four times and missed several scoring chances in Derry territory. They were bitten by the injury bug, as well.

Senior wide receiver and defensive back Isiah Bauman suffered a knee injury in the early stages of the third quarter and didn’t return. Gaillot said the extent of the injury was still being assessed Saturday, and Bauman will not play this week. His status for beyond Friday’s home opener against North Catholic, Gaillot said, is not known.

Freshman Parker Lucas came in for Bauman on defense, and Gaillot said he played well given the circumstances.

Senior quarterback Garret Schaffhauser used his legs and his arm to help move the Freeport offense.

He completed 24 of 34 passes for 263 yards and two touchdowns to Bauman and Brodey Woods. He was 9 of 14 passing for 129 yards in the fourth quarter alone.

Bauman caught seven passes for 85 yards before his injury, Josh Bollinger added six grabs for 55 yards, Luke Miller tallied three catches for 64 yards in the fourth quarter, and Woods finished with five receptions for 49 yards.

“At halftime, we came into the locker room and said we were not out of the game,” Schaffhauser said of his team’s position down 21-7 at the break.

“We started a little slow in the third quarter, but we turned it up in the fourth. If we would’ve played like that the whole game, I think we would’ve won it. We have to be able to play a complete game.”

Schaffhauser added 102 yards rushing on 24 carries and a 1-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

“Garret did a great job controlling the offense,” Gaillot said. “When something negative happened, he bounced right back and kept trying to make plays for his team.”

Coming into the season, Gaillot said he felt the offense could be more balanced between the run and the pass.

“At the end of the game, we were trying to get out of bounds, so we were throwing even more there,” he said. “Overall, we were trying to open the game up a little more, especially with Derry being a more big-bodied team. We were throwing bubble screens and other passes to hopefully get them to go sideline to sideline and wear them down a little bit.”

Freeport team members gathered Saturday morning to watch the game film, get treatment for various bumps and bruises and turn to the page to 3A No. 2 North Catholic.

“After that first game, you see a full four-quarter performance and you evaluate everything — how they respond emotionally, physically and assignment-wise,” Gaillot said. “Can they handle the responsibility? We continue to move forward. We do the same process every week, but this is probably a little more in depth this week because it’s the first week. With any changes, you hope things start to fit into place where it’s more about fine-tuning.”

North Catholic beat Burrell, 54-6, on Friday.

“We’re going to practice hard this week and be ready for them,” Schaffhauser said.

The Trojans topped the Yellowjackets, 40-8, last year.

“North Catholic has top athletes,” Gaillot said. “There are a lot of future college athletes on that team. They are very deep and very talented. It’s going to be a great challenge, but at Freeport, we’re not afraid of anybody. We’re going to come out and play as hard and as physical as we possibly can. We take pride in that.”

Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at or via Twitter .


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