FREEPORT — Freeport head coach Paul St. Pierre and his coaching staff have been looking forward to the start of the high school football season. With the loss of only a handful of players from last year’s Class E state championship team to graduation, the move back to Class C has a lot of excitement in the air. 

After a slow first half, the Falcons kicked it into high gear, scoring 34 unanswered points in the second half, rolling to a 41-13 victory over visiting Morse at Joan Benoit Samuelson Track and Field Friday night. 

The Falcons offense amassed 338 yards on the ground, led by Caden Benedict’s 113 on six carries and Adam Ulrickson’s 88 on nine attempts. Benedict also had two scores. 

Freeport High School football coach Paul St. Pierre and his Falcons prepare for the second half against Morse at Joan Benoit Sameulson Track and Field on Friday night. (Eric Maxim / The Times Record)

It was a great win, with a much better second half,” St. Pierre said as the Falcons have yet to lose on the home turf since they began playing on it a year ago. “There was a lot of mistakes tonight so I told them they can enjoy this winbut they can’t hang their hats on it, we need to keep working and improve ourselves. 

Morse managed only 214 total yards in the game and were hurt by a pair of turnovers. 

We weren’t the same team we’ve been in practice,” Morse head coach Jason Darling said. “We’re a young team and when the lights go up, it’s sometimes hard to translate that over. I don’t think tonight was a good indication of who we are. 

Both teams spun their wheels on their opening drives. Morse punted twice and the Falcons turned the ball over on downs. Freeport hit paydirt on its second possession with a 71-yard drive, finished off by a 3-yard quarterback sneak by Anthony Panciocco with four minutes left in the first quarter. 

Morse picked up a pair of first downs on the next drive, but it was stalled after Freeport’s Tony Casale and the Falcons defense stopped the Morse ball carriers in the backfield on consecutive downs. 

The Shipbuilders defense kept Freeport out of the endzone for the remainder of the half, allowing the visitors to slip back into the game. 

With under a minute remaining in the half, Morse drove down the field, aided by a pair of 30-plus yard passes from sophomore quarterback Josh Ter Mors. The second came with 32 ticks on the clock as the sophomore hit Gabe Aucoin in the corner of the endzone for the score. The 2-point conversion was unsuccessful, and Morse trailed 7-6 at the halftime break. 

He’s a big strong kid with a big strong arm and a lot of fun to coach,” Darling said of his young quarterback, who completed 7-of-12 passes for 114 yards. 

Second half jolt 

The Falcons received the ball to open the second half and when Tre Morris took the rock on the 20-yard line, the senior looked up the field and motored through his blocks, dashing down the sidelines for an 80-yard touchdown. 

He told us at halftime no more penalties and keep it a clean game. I put it in my mind it was go time, after I got the ball, I saw that hole and I took it,” Morris said. 

“I told them at halftime that the first half was not our type of game,” St. Pierre said. “We talked about eliminating mistakes and playing our game.” 

The Falcons forced a turnover on the ensuing drive and two plays later, junior Aidan Michaud broke free and darted to the endzone for a 28-yard score. Freeport soccer goalie Gabe Wagner connected on his third point-after kick to put the Falcons ahead, 21-6. 

The Falcons scored on their next three drives, receiving rushing touchdowns from Benedict (six yards), Colby Petrin (22 yards), and Benedict again (41 yards) to go ahead, 41-6 with 10 minutes left in the contest. 

It’s something a lot of teams don’t have, we’re very blessed to have all of these running backs,” St. Pierre saidThey’re a great group of kids that have each other’s backs. It’s great to have a pen full of gazelles that can come out anytime and run all over the place. 

Benedict has only one thing in mind when his number is called in the huddle. 

Just run hard, run angry and do my best. I count on my line as our line can run with anybody,” said the junior running back. 

It didn’t matter who ran the ball, the Freeport line had their way in the second half, led by tackles Noah Larrabee and Zane Campbell, guards Jack Kelly and Jon Doyle, and center Nate Hinds, all who are either sophomores or juniors. 

They have some good backs. The first step was to gear up and stop the run game, but their line is tough,” Darling said. 

Darius Hargett rushed for a 17-yard touchdown in the fourth for Morse. 

Ter Mors finished with 34 yards on the ground, followed by Hargett’s 22, Aucoin’s 20 and Rakalin Buford’s 19. 

Morse will host Lake Region next Friday at 7 p.m. 

After a bye this upcoming week, Freeport will then host Lake Region on Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. St. Pierre will welcome the bye as the team prepares for the Lakers. 

I told them it was a great effort, but we always talk about the pursuit of perfection,” the coach said. “We’re trying to get into their heads that as well as we played, we need more. We’re not looking to beat just a few teams, we’re looking to get to the next level and we’re talking the top two or three teams in the conference. To do that we can’t be satisfied with a 41-13 win.

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