Freeport shakes off slow start, pulls away from Yough

Friday, September 27, 2019 | 11:11 PM

For the second week in a row, Freeport rebounded after giving up an 80-yard touchdown on the opening kickoff.

Last week, it was Uniontown. On Friday, it was Yough.

The Yellowjackets leaned on special teams and their defense to break open a one-touchdown game and defeat Yough, 50-14, at Cougar Mountain in Class 3A Big East Conference play.

Ben Lane took the second-half kickoff down the right sideline for 85 yards, and Freeport’s defense returned two Cougar turnovers for touchdowns on consecutive possessions.

Senior Carter Dougherty ran back junior quarterback Gamal Marballie’s fumble for 51 yards for the Yellowjackets. Senior Josh Bollinger then returned an interception 32 yards to extend Freeport’s lead to 35-7.

Freeport is 2-3 overall, 2-3 in the conference. Yough fell to 1-5, 1-4.

“We came out a little bit slow, and we started to pick it up a little towards the end of the half. (In the second half), we came out like we can play,” said Freeport coach John Gaillot, whose team led 14-7 at halftime.

“I’m very proud of the boys to overcome that first half. I’m proud of their effort and how they totally changed to the way they should’ve been playing.”

Yough junior CJ Waldier ran back the opening kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown.

The Cougars then blocked a punt on Freeport’s opening drive and drove 70 yards. However, Freeport held strong on fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line.

“That was huge. That’s when we started fighting a little bit more. I’m proud the boys were able to overcome that slow start,” Gaillot said.

Senior quarterback Garret Schaffhauser capped a 10-play drive with a 1-yard sneak for the Yellowjackets to tie the score, 7-7, with five minutes left in the second quarter.

After a defensive stop, Freeport took over at the 39-yard line and quickly scored when Schaffhauser scrambled to find senior Brodey Woods for a 38-yard touchdown pass to give the Yellowjackets a 14-7 lead with 1:21 remaining in the first half.

Schaffhauser threw for 195 yards and a touchdown on 8-for-12 passing. Woods finished with 93 yards on five catches. The Yellowjackets had 160 yards on the ground spread between seven players.

Late in the third quarter, the Cougars finally scored again when Marballie connected with Waldier for a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-14.

“If we score that touchdown (on the fourth-and-goal) there, it would’ve been a different game. The way the third quarter started with kickoff return, fumble and interception was difficult,” Yough coach Scott Wood said.

“They scored 21 points in over two minutes. Not many teams are going to come back from that. We are a young team. We make a lot of mistakes. Hopefully the guys are learning from them.”

Bollinger scored his second touchdown on a 3-yard run early in the fourth quarter. Lane added his second touchdown on a 6-yard run with over a minute remaining.

Marballie went 17 of 26 for 166 yards and added 70 rushing yards. Waldier had 12 catches for 146 yards.

Last year, Freeport defeated Yough, 20-0, for its second win of the season. The victory was part of a five-game winning streak. The Yellowjackets, who are finally healthy, would like to replicate that this season to make it back to the WPIAL playoffs.

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