Freeport keeps playoff hopes alive with 3rd straight win

Friday, October 4, 2019 | 11:02 PM

Deer Lakes will have to wait another year to see if it can sneak a win past longtime rival Freeport because from the first whistle Friday night, the Yellowjackets showed why they haven’t lost to their Class 3A Big East Conference rival since 2010.

Freeport (3-3, 3-3) prevented a Deer Lakes touchdown from the 1-yard line, stitched together a 99-yard scoring drive on its second offensive possession and recovered a bad snap on the Lancers’ 1-yard line — all within the first 11 minutes of the game.

It led to a two-score lead, and Freeport never looked back, cruising to a 40-21 win to celebrate its homecoming weekend.

“This feels really good. It’s a really good feeling,” said senior running back Ricky Hunter, who had 169 yards of total offense and two touchdowns. “We came out very strong, very confident and we did pretty good.”

After stopping the Lancers (3-4, 3-3) on the 1-yard line, the Yellowjackets went to work.

One play after Jewlius Barnes broke off a 34-yard run to give his team more than enough breathing room after its defensive stop, senior quarterback Garrett Schaffhauser connected with Matt Aulicino for a 30-yard pass. Three plays later, Schaffhauser found Brodey Woods for a 29-yard touchdown to open the scoring.

Soon afterward, a fumble by the Lancers set up the Yellowjackets on the 1-yard line, and Schaffhauser punched it in for his first of three scores. But the Lancers didn’t go away.

Deer Lakes quarterback Aris Hasley and Schaffhauser traded touchdowns before the half. First, Hasley found Jack Hollibaugh for his first of three passing touchdowns on a 19-yard slant. Then, Schaffhauser responded with a 56-yard wheel route pass to Hunter just over two minutes later. With 1 minute, 39 seconds remaining in the half, Hasley found Zac Herbinko for a 38-yard touchdown pass to close the gap to 14.

“That’s Aris, that’s why he’s a captain and that’s why I lean on him,” Deer Lakes coach Tim Burk said. “He’s willing to make those plays, and that’s why I believe in him. Just for that example alone. Something happens, it doesn’t matter because he’ll believe he can go out and score.”

Hasley found Hollibaugh for another score late in the fourth quarter, but the Yellowjackets dominated the second half in all facets of the game to pull away for good.

Led by Schaffhauser, Hunter and Woods, the Freeport running game chewed up the clock, and the Freeport defense executed its gameplan well. It limited potent Deer Lakes to 306 yards of total offense and one score.

“It was just an unbelievable performance,” Freeport coach John Gaillot said. “Hats off to coach (Todd) Durand, it was a great gameplan and the kids did a great job executing it tonight.”

Freeport started the season with losses against Derry, North Catholic and Elizabeth Forward. But since then, it has outscored opponents 146-49. With their backs against the wall and a playoff spot on the line, the Yellowjackets need to win out. Next week they travel to Burrell for a matchup with the Bucs.

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at or via Twitter .

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