Deer Park just wouldn’t go away Friday night but the Freeman Scotties had just enough of a power running game to milk the clock and secure a State 1A tournament berth with the 21-13 victory.
The player of the game was junior receiver Jack Paukert who caught a 32-yard pass from Preston Hoppman and intercepted two Deer Park passes. And with the game on the line, coach Jim Wood kept stuffing the ball into the hands of senior running back Markus Goldbach, who was nursing a sore ankle.
“Markus gutted it out. He got the first downs when we needed them,” Wood said. “We controlled the game, but we just couldn’t put them away.”
With Colville’s victory over Lakeside on Friday, Freeman (8-1, 6-1) enters the 16-team playoff as the second seed from District 7. The Scotties’ only loss was the 28-7 setback at Colville (9-0, 7-0) on Oct. 10. Lakeside (7-2, 5-2) enters as the third seed.
“It wasn’t a pretty win,” said Goldbach, who had a heavily taped ankle that he injured last week against Lakeside. “But we did what we needed to do.”
It took a while for the Scotties to get rolling, but they got on the board with Paukert’s 29-yard touchdown reception with 5:49 left in the first quarter.
On the next Freeman possession, tempers got the better of the Stags (4-5, 4-3). Deer Park was called for pass interference and drew a second flag, for unsportsmanlike conduct, when protesting the first penalty.
Two plays after the 24-yards in penalites, Goldbach rumbled in on a 6-yard run to make it 13-0 Freeman.
On the next possession, Paukert intercepted his first Nic Clough pass. Eight plays later, Hoppman hit Goldbach on a third-down pass for a 25-yard touchdown. After a 2-point conversion, it looked like the Scotties would cruise.
But a fumbled snap by Hoppman allowed Deer Park’s Nic Clough to hit Colton Munsen on a 29-yard touchdown pass to make it 21-7 at the break.
The offenses couldn’t muster much and the score remained the same until 5:42 left in the game when Clough found Munsen again on a fourth-down pass from the 4-yard line to make it 21-13.
But Goldbach’s number kept getting called and he churned out yards and first downs until time ran out on the Stags’ season.
“Part of me is disappointed that we didn’t play well all four quarters,” Wood said. “But we are in the playoffs. We’ll take it and go from there.”
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