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Sports >  High school sports

Lakeside’s Kole Hunsaker throws five TDs in win at Freeman 36-27

Sept. 23, 2022 Updated Sat., Sept. 24, 2022 at 12:07 a.m.

By Steve Christilaw For The Spokesman-Review

Kole Hunsaker wore a big smile and savored the postgame celebration.

His Lakeside Eagles, the No. 3-ranked Class 1A football team in the state, held off ninth-ranked Freeman on the road for a 36-27 win on Friday night.

But it was more than that.

The senior quarterback threw a personal-best five touchdown passes.

But it was more than that.

It made the Eagles 4-0 to start his senior season and 2-0 in Northeast A League play.

For Hunsaker and the Eagles, what mattered most – what put the big smiles on their collective faces – was all about who they had just beaten.

Freeman.

“Lakeside and Freeman,” Hunsaker said. “We look at that game and we circle it every year. In every sport. It’s a rivalry, but it’s more than that.

“There is more trash talk going on in this game than any other game we play. And when the game is over we’re hugging each other, shaking each other’s hands. It’s a great rivalry. It’s a game we really want to win every year.”

Coach Devin Bauer congratulated his team on what he called “a character victory.”

“There were so many times this game could have gone south,” he told them. “This was about guys stepping up. Guys picking each other up. Guys making big plays.”

For the first time in four games this season, Lakeside – a team that posted back-to-back wins over Class 2A nonleague opponents to start the season – had to play from behind.

After a scoreless first quarter, Freeman quarterback Boen Phelps put the Scotties in front by wedging in from the 1 for a 7-0 lead.

Hunsaker calmly went about running the Lakeside offense, tying the game by hitting his big tight end, Calvin Mikkelsen with a 17-yard touchdown pass, but the Eagles could not convert on a 2-point PAT and trailed 7-6.

Freeman’s defense stopped Lakeside deep in its own territory and the Eagles, who were challenged by difficulties with the deep snap, managed a rushed, 5-net yards on a punt to set up the Scotties with a first down at the Lakeside 15 with under 2 minutes left in the half.

Phelps threw incomplete on first down and scrambled for a yard on second, then scrambled on third down and found Sage Gilbert behind his Lakeside defender for a score and a 14-6 lead with 1:41 left in the half.

Lakeside’s potent kick return game gave it a first down at the Freeman 29 after Hiro Patterson raced 47 yards with the kickoff.

Hunsaker hit Patterson with a dart 5 yards deep in the end zone along the sideline on the final play of the half and tied it with a 2-point conversion.

“I was impressed by how patient we all were,” Hunsaker said. “I think that’s something we can build on the rest of the way.”

Lakeside stopped Freeman on its first possession of the second half and Hunsaker gave the Eagles their first lead of the game by hitting Luke Pedersen from 26 yards out, making it 22-14 after a 2-point conversion.

Phelps brought Freeman back with his second short run of the game, but a missed extra-point kick left the Scotties down 22-20.

Hunsaker passed to Pedersen once more, this time on a bubble screen behind the line of scrimmage and the junior receiver raced 7 yards for the score to make it 28-20.

Peterson picked off a Phelps pass and set the Eagles up at the Freeman 40 and four plays later Hunsaker hit Zachary Meharg from 15 yards out to make it 36-20.

“Five touchdown passes? That’s my personal best as a high school player,” Hunsaker said. “I think in middle school I threw eight or nine in a game, but that doesn’t count.

“To be honest, I don’t care all that much about my own numbers. I don’t think any of us do. I just want to win games. I want to win a state championship.”

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