Freeman unloads on Medical Lake 49-7 in season finale
Cardinals are first team this season to get a lead on NEA champ Scotties
Medical Lake's Jackson Tappero avoids a last-gasp tackle try from Freeman's Billy Sims and heads to the end zone for the Cards' lone touchdown last Friday.
The glimmer of good news that came out of Medical Lake's final regular season football game was that the Cardinals became the first team all season to take a lead on Freeman.
The bad news was that it seemed to get the regular-season Northeast A League undefeated champion Scotties riled up and they rolled to a 49-7 win.
"Basically we kicked over a beehive and got 'em mad," Medical Lake head coach Wes Hobbs said as he watched his team finish 4-4 overall and 3-3 in NEA play heading into Friday's playoff at Cashmere. The Bulldogs – 7-0 in Caribou Trail League play, 8-1 overall – and Cards kick off at 7 p.m.
Medical Lake got their lead on their second possession when Wil Noble intercepted Preston Hoppman's pass on second and a yard to go with his return taking the ball to the Freeman 30. It took the Cardinals just four plays for Jackson Tappero to rumble 24 yards for a Medical Lake lead with 5 minutes 54 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
"I didn't realize this but we're the first team that's held a lead on those guys," Hobbs said.
But it only took Freeman (6-0 NEA, 8-0 overall) four plays to tie it on the first of Markus Goldbach's three touchdowns with his 20-yard run with 4:44 to play in the opening quarter, and fifth touch to take the lead they would never relinquish.
That came on Freeman's first play from scrimmage when Jesse Kitterman's 51-yard touchdown catch and run with 2:22 to go in the quarter.
"Their first score, we just didn't contest it," Hobbs said. "Some blocking assignments went undone."
Following an ML three and out and a short punt, a Goldbach keeper for 44 yards set up Max Laib's 7-yard TD run just five seconds into the second quarter. And then with a minute to go in the half Kian Genteman got behind an injury-plagued secondary for a 75-yard play that made it 28-7.
The Cardinals, traditionally thin on numbers anyway, lost one of their key two-way performers when senior Steven Velazquez was lost to injury. Velazquez patrols both the defensive backfield where he's had multiple interceptions and spells the offense, too.
Three more Freeman scores from their first-stringers in the third quarter put the rest of the game on running time – mercy time as it's called – as Hoppman and Goldbach's two touchdowns wrapped things up before the start of the fourth quarter.
"They played hard, we still managed to do some good things," Hobbs said. "We're 4-4 and lost a lot of kids from the year before and I'm pretty happy with that."
Tappero concluded the night with 130 yards on 20 carries, part of only 196 total yards on the night for the Cards. Freeman' behind Goldbach's 166 yards on just nine carries, and the 7-for-11 and 191 passing yards from Hoppman rolled up 431 yards of total offense.
The Cards turn their attention to the Bulldogs and while they are impressive, Hobbs said he sees how his team might be able to be trouble. "We're looking forward to Cashmere and go down there with a big band aid on our rumps because we're banged up," Hobbs said.
"Their style of play, their smash mouth, foot-to-foot kind of stuff, that can kind of play into our favor," Hobbs said. "They do some things on defense that is to our advantage."
Medical Lake is familiar with the trip to the Wenatchee Valley having traveled to Leavenworth for a playoff game, losing 44-14 to Cascade last November. "We're just going to go down there and roll the dice," Hobbs said. "We've got everything to gain and nothing to lose."
"We're going to go down there, let it all hang out and see if we can disrupt the entire state playoffs," Hobbs said.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.