They’ve been called a second half team and in fact they too know that they are a second half team capable of out powering and outlasting, but on Friday night they had to shorten that to a fourth quarter team. It was a game far from perfect that started out with problems from before the ball was even snapped. A delay of game culminated to a rough first half that saw Centerburg Trojans hold a strong lead before the Freddies overpowered to a 28-21 victory.
“Any time you’re playing a good quality team like Centerburg it’s a great feeling. Last year we were on the other side so I do know what they’re feeling in that locker room. I know this, Coach Stoyle is going to have them fighting for three more weeks,” said Fredericktown Head Coach Brian Baum.
Fredericktown held the Trojans to a three-and-out and started their first series at the 45 less than two minutes into the game. A nine-yard gain by Austin Hathaway started out the drive. Key passes in some third and long positions out to Braxton McQueen and Jake Streby along with some movement on the ground got the ball down to the 16. The drive was capped off with a five-yard touchdown run by Devin Kessler. 6:25
A short field kick by Brayden Mast certainly caused some roar from the sidelines, but the Freddie defense stepped up and held Centerburg from getting anywhere on their possession.
The Freddies were buried at their one and didn’t get far on the next drive and couldn’t find a way to power through the Centerburg defense.
Jeremy Sesma scored on the following Centerburg drive with a one-yard trip with 1:40 left in the first quarter to tie the game.
A bad snap for the Freddies gave the Trojans another field advantage, this time with 20-yards to go. Despite several back-and-forth penalties they got the fifteen-yard pass from John Rings to Sesma to pull ahead. 14-7.
“This was a lot like another game this year where we left a lot of opportunities out there. Our special teams kind of made a few miscues which we normally don’t do, but we’ll work on that again,” said Coach Baum.
Hathaway and Kessler worked the ground to grab what yards they could as the Trojans stepped up their pass coverage. While they moved the rock, they just couldn’t pound through the defense and turned the ball over on downs at their own 37-yard line. It took a minute and a half for Centerburg to find the right combination to overpower and let Rings hit his brother Jacob with a seven-yard pass.
When it looked as if Centerburg might end up getting into a scoring position again a huge stop by Tristin Cherryholmes and Colton Lybarger tackled for a huge loss. With things clicking for the Freddies defense now and the Trojans continuing to go to the air, Hathaway read the next pass right and snagged the interception just before half-time.
“At halftime we got on them a little bit, but it wasn’t downgrading. It’s about bringing up and believing in yourselves and sometimes you need reminded a little loudly of that, that you can believe in yourself and you can do this,” said Coach Baum.
Hathaway, Kessler, and Tyler Ruhl worked behind the strong Freddies line to power downfield and take valuable time off the clock. A pass from Hathaway to Jackson got it down to the 11-yard line when the Centerburg defense really buckled down and held on to stop Ruhl at the two.
“We went in at half time and Coach Baum really talked about being stronger and just outworking these guys,” said senior Tyler Ruhl. “The guys up front really worked hard in the second half. We were telling them after each play that we believe in them and that they can do it.”
The fourth quarter was when the magic just kept coming for the Freddies. The will to win, the feelings of the 2013 season, and hard work all began to show as they gave the fans a thriller.
“Everyone that made a mistake came back and made a big play to help win this game so everybody should be proud of themselves. This is a great win for the Freddies,” said Coach Baum.
Fredericktown got as far as the Trojan 18 before turning it over on downs. A fumble recovery by the Freddies quickly got the ball back in their hands at the 10-yard line where they capitalized on the grab. A two-yard touchdown run by Hathaway worked, but the two-point conversion failed, leaving them 13-21.
Fredericktown’s defense again answered the call after just over a minute to setup the next drive and Hathaway to march the ball 58-yards to the end zone. A pass from Hathaway to Jackson for the conversion tied the game at 21 and the stadium was rocking.
“I tell you what, we have a lot of depth, and our guys can catch the ball. We’ve got a great line. They work their butts off all summer long and I’m really proud of those guys, said quarterback Austin Hathaway. “Its great that we can set them out on defense and they can come in fresh on offense.”
With 44 seconds left on the clock in the game Hathaway capped off the four minute drive with a six-yard touchdown to pull ahead. Finishing off the 78-yard drive they thought might be enough to take the wind from the Trojan sails, they didn’t give up. Perched on the Freddies side of the field the hook and ladder play almost worked for Centerburg. That was it worked until Jackson made contact with Sesma to take him down at the Fredericktown two-yard line, just short of what could have been a devastating blow.
“I thought oh dang here we go again with Sesma because he can make plays, and all of a sudden here comes Chase Jackson to make a big play for us. He was a big addition to this team and I’m really proud of him,” said Coach Baum.
The sidelines and Fredericktown fans quickly swarmed the field as the clock hit zero and the Freddies sealed the victory to remain undefeated.
“I tell you what, this was a hell of a win for Fredericktown, you can see the atmosphere out here. I’m pumped for the community and hope that we can just keep this thing rolling,” said Coach Baum.
Hathaway was eight of seventeen for 76 yards passing for the evening. He led the rushing offense with 195-yards on 34 attempts for three touchdowns. Tyler Ruhl had nine for 27-yards. Leading the receivers was Chase Jackson at 37-yards on four receptions, and Jake Streby with one for 21-yards. They all worked together for a total of 295-yards on 70 plays with 219 from rushing and 76-yards passing.
The defense was led by Colton Lybarger with 13 tackles, Trace Young with 9 and a fumble recovery, and Tyler Ruhl with seven including four tackles for a loss. They gave up 71-yards on the ground and 160-yards in the air against the Trojans.
We’re seeing improvements week to week and getting my linebackers healthy again was key for us this week,” said Coach Baum.
The Freddies will host the Highland Scots this Friday night in week eight of high school football.