It wasn’t their best game, but it was still a win.
The Destin Marlins beat the Freeport Bulldogs 34-26 to finish off the regular season with a perfect 7-0 record.
“We didn’t play championship football at all,” said Destin Coach Mark Hinterthan as he walked off the field at Freeport Middle School. “I don’t know if they were looking forward or not … I don’t know. But mentally we made so many mistakes and errors; we kept them in the game. We just didn’t play good football.
“But we came out with a win," he added. "… 7-0, can’t take that away from them. Their work ethic got them that.”
Next week, the undefeated Marlins will host Baker Middle School at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11 in the first round of the playoffs.
As for the Freeport game Thursday night, the Freeport Bulldogs got on the board first after capitalizing on a turnover. Peyton Kruger picked off a Destin pass and ran it back 65 yards for six points. The point after attempt was no good, but Freeport led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Destin finally got on the board. Jack Tenholder broke loose for a 13-yard run for the touchdown. Tabious Thompson kicked in the point after give Destin a 7-6 advantage.
In the last two minutes of the first half, Destin scored again. Quarterback Harrison Orr connected with Maddax Fayard, who took the ball and scampered down the right sideline for a 57-yard score. Thompson kicked in the PAT for a 14-6 advantage.
Freeport had a little over a minute to get something going, but Orr picked off a Bulldog pass. Destin led 14-6 at the half.
To start the third quarter, Freeport went for an onside kick and recovered the ball at midfield. Two plays later the Bulldogs were in the end zone. Robbie Durgan connected with Peyton Kruger for a 46-yard TD strike. The two-point try failed for a 14-12 game.
On Destin’s next possession, the Marlins fumbled it away after picking up a first down. Freeport failed to gain any ground and was forced to punt.
This time the Marlins took it down for a touchdown. Anthony Ordonez broke away on the right side for a 29-yard run to the end zone. Thompson’s kick was good and Destin was up 21-12.
Freeport again didn’t waste anytime answering. On their first play from scrimmage, Kruger took off for a 60-yard run for a TD. Destin’s Orr intercepted their two-point pass attempt for a 21-18 game.
At the start of the fourth, Destin drove down on their first possession and scored in nine plays. Orr completed a 20-yard pass to Pavel Baturyn on the drive before Ordonez picked up 28 on the ground and then scored on a 13-yard run. Thompson missed on the extra-point kick, but Destin still led 27-18.
Freeport, for the third time, came right back. Kruger connected with Durgan for a 64-yard catch and run for the TD. Kruger ran in the two-point conversion for a 27-26 game.
In the last five minutes, Destin scored one last time on a 14-yard run by Tenholder. Tenholder also ran in the two-point conversion.
With two minutes to go, Freeport got the ball only to be picked off by Orr, who had four interceptions on the night.