Freeport takes advantage of Valley mistakes

Friday, October 1, 2021 | 10:56 PM

On the night Valley honored its undefeated 1996 team, the current Vikings had an opportunity to capture their first win of the season. However, they were bitten by the turnover bug in the second half.

The Vikings (0-6, 0-3) started the second half trailing Freeport, 7-0, but four costly turnovers in the third quarter sealed Valley’s fate ait lost, 33-6, to the Yellowjackets (2-3, 1-0) in a Class 3A Allegheny Seven Conference game Friday night at Valley High Memorial Stadium.

“The kids played extremely well on defense. We struggled a little bit on offense to get going. We started to finally move the ball and do some things. I just liked how we came out in the second half and played well,” Freeport coach John Gaillot said.

“The defense rose to the occasion. They always seem to come up with big plays.”

The Yellowjackets’ win comes after a tough couple of weeks in which games against Apollo-Ridge and Derry were canceled because of quarantine issues. Last week, Freeport picked up a game against Class 2A No. 2 Serra Catholic to replace the Derry cancelation. However, the Yellowjackets lost, 14-.

After senior Vincent Clark missed his second field goal of the night for the Yellowjackets, Valley took over deep in its own territory down by a touchdown. However a couple of plays later, the Yellowjackets recovered a Vikings fumble inside the 20-yard line. The fumble started a chain of events that turned a close ball game into a rout in less than three minutes.

“We just made too many mistakes. This is the most we’ve played with all season since we’ve been having trouble with grades. For a lot of these kids, this was their first game,” Valley coach Muzzy Colosimo said.

“I give them all the credit in the world for how they played in the first half because they played their rear ends off. But when things start to go bad, they can’t stay focused and stay up. They are really good kids.”

With the short field, Freeport capitalized as junior quarterback Ben Lane took the snap on the left side of the line for a 14-yard run to give the Yellowjackets a 14-0 lead with 2 minutes, 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter.

The Yellowjackets picked off the Vikings on back-to-back drives and returned both interceptions for touchdowns. The first one was a 47-yard interception return by junior Zach Clark followed by a 48-yard interception return by Vincent Clark to give Freeport a 26-0 lead with 2:02 remaining in the third quarter.

Viking junior running back Xavier Wilson fumbled on Valley’s next drive and Zach Clark scored for the Yellowjackets on a 20-yard run behind the left side of the Yellowjackets offensive line to give Freeport a 33-0 lead before the end of the third quarter.

“The defense just played outstanding football. I’m really happy with their effort and their play so far this year.

However, the Yellowjackets were denied a shutout as junior Jayden Richter picked up a Lane fumble and scampered for a 17-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The Yellowjackets opened up the scoring when Lane connected with Vincent Clark for a 28-yard touchdown as a Valley defender got lost in coverage.

Lane was the leading rusher with 73 yards, while senior running back Shane Jack finished with 69 yards rushing for the Yellowjackets.

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