Freeport Bulldogs beat Jay royally

Staff Writer
The Destin Log
Freeport’s Morgan Hardee comes down with the catch in the end zone for the second touchdown against the Jay Royals. Hardee had two TD catches in the 46-7 victory.

Junior quarterback Gabe Moore was on target Friday night in Freeport throwing five touchdown passes for a 46-7 win over the visiting Jay Royals to secure a spot in the playoffs.

Moore was 7 of 14 for 218-yards and five TDs, all in the first half. Senior Zach Fordem was on the receiving end of the first touchdown, a 34-yard strike. Then junior Morgan Hardee caught two, a 41-yarder and a 95-yarder catch and run for the score. Nick Russell caught the last two touchdown strikes, 15-yards each.

"We just tried to move the football tonight," said Freeport Coach Jim Anderson as he walked off the field. And move it they did, picking up 256 yards on the ground. Owen Cole was the big Dog with 112 yards on the ground in 14 carries and Russell rushed five times for 67 yards and an 11-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

But the big strikes came through the air.

"I thought all season if we could cover, we could pass," Anderson said.

In addition to Moore's 218 yards through the air, Cole completed 2 of 3 passes for 22 yards.

But not only did the Freeport offense get the job done, so did the defense.

The Bulldog defense stuffed the Royals on their first possession and forced a punt.

Starting from their own 9-yard line, the Bulldogs marched it down the field in 10 plays and scored on a 34-yard pass play from Moore to Fordem. The extra point attempt failed.

On the ensuing kickoff, the Royals muffed it, and Freeport's Dalton Raymond recovered the ball on the Jay 28-yard line. After losing a little ground on penalties, the Bulldogs scored on a 41-yard strike from Moore to Hardee. The kick after failed and Freeport led 12-0 with 3:29 left in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Freeport struck quickly. Backed up inside their 10-yard line, Moore hit Hardee in stride for a 95-yard catch and run for the score, and the Bulldogs led 18-0 midway of the second quarter.

On Jay's next possession, Freeport pushed them back on their first play. Then the Bulldog defense tipped a Royal pass and Tristan (T-Bear) Locke made the interception and ran it back 26-yards for the score. Moore's extra point kick was good and Freeport led 25-0 with 5:54 to go in the first half.

After a four-and-out for Jay, the Bulldogs struck again in less than a minute. On the second play from scrimmage, Cole broke loose for a 56-yard gain, then Moore connected with Russell for a 15-yard reception for the score. The kick after was good for a 32-0 advantage. The Royals again had the ball but fumbled it away with Hardee making the recovery.

The Bulldogs tacked on one more touchdown before the half. Moore connected with Russell in the right corner of the end zone for a 15-yard score. Freeport led 39-0 at the half.

At the start of the third quarter, Cole was picked off by Jay's Hunter Dillashaw. The Royals put the ball in the end zone in four plays with Tate Upton connecting with Colton Williams on a 10-yard pass play.

The Bulldogs scored one last time, this time on a running play. Russell capped off a 67-yard drive with an 11-yard run up the middle for the score. Moore kicked in the point after for a 46-7 game.

By the time the fourth quarter rolled around, a running clock was started on the game.

Freeport's defense held the Royals to 199 total yards. Leading rusher for the Royals was Ricky Cofield with 85 yards. Upton completed 6-of-10 for 51 yards.

"We had a good week of practice," said Freeport Defensive Coordinator Shaun Arntz. "And we executed at the right time."

And as for one of his defensive guys scoring — "I love to see a big guy score," Arntz said.