FREEPORT — For the first time since the 2014 season, the Freeport football team got to celebrate a victory Saturday afternoon.

The Falcons scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns in a span of less than two minutes to pull out a 22-8 win over Poland in a Class C South opener.

It was a promising start for Freeport, which went 0-8 last season and lost every game by at least 20 points, including a season-opening 49-12 defeat at Poland.

“This is one of the biggest wins for our program,” said Josh Burke, a converted fullback who starts at quarterback and middle linebacker for Freeport. “We just came off an 0-8 season. Not many people thought we could (win), but we have the heart and we just know we can do it. We just showed them today that we can (win).”

The game marked the return of Gene Keene to the head coaching ranks. A former head coach at Noble, Winthrop and Edward Little, Keene has taken over the reins of Poland’s football program from Ted Tibbetts after serving stints as athletic director at Maranacook, Brunswick and St. Dom’s during the past decade.

“All of our kids on both sides of the ball played hard and I’m proud of them,” Keene said. “But we didn’t play well on both sides of the ball. (Our) players needed to play better and (our) coaches need to coach better.”

Poland, coming off a 4-5 season, scored just 20 seconds into the game when Austin Bouchard swept left on the first play from scrimmage and raced 65 yards down the sideline. Tyler Tucci rushed for the 2-point conversion, giving the Knights an 8-0 lead.

Most of the rest of the game was controlled by the defenses.

“They only (made) one big play on us, really, and then we all got together and our defense (was) just strong,” Burke said.

The Falcons forged an 8-8 tie midway through the second quarter when T.J. Morrill ran 3 yards for a touchdown. The score came six plays after a poor snap on a Poland punt attempt set up Freeport on the Knights’ 23. The short drive was kept alive by a facemask penalty on a third-down play.

It took the Falcons more than three quarters to really get untracked offensively.

“We usually like to run the ball more than we pass, so we tried to run the right plays to see which ones worked and which ones didn’t,” Burke said. “Then we tried to utilize them to our best advantage.”

The Falcons took the lead with less than five minutes remaining, when Burke went in from the 3 to cap a four-play, 40-yard drive following a Poland punt. On second-and 17, Burke threw a 33-yard pass to Morrill. Max Doughty scooted 11 yards on the next play to set up the touchdown.

Connor Dostie clinched the victory moments later, picking off a pass after it was tipped by Morrill and returning it 40 yards for a touchdown.

“They made more plays than us,” Keene said. “It was a knockdown, drag-out fight, but when it comes to plays, they made more than us.”