Content courtesy of the Trib HSSN:
Justin Huss was a workhorse for Derry on Friday in the team’s Big East opener against Freeport.
The senior running back logged 33 carries and totaled 261 yards and four touchdowns as the Trojans held off a fourth-quarter Yellowjackets rally for a 35-27 victory.
“We knew going in that Freeport was a good team, so we knew it was going to be a fight,” said Huss, who scored on runs of 1, 47, 2 and 60 yards. “We had to come out swinging, and we knew if we did that and played a good game, we would be happy with the result.”
Derry, which needed overtime to defeat Freeport last year, led 21-7 at halftime, extended it to 28-7 with three minutes left in the third quarter and held a 35-14 advantage with 11 minutes on the fourth-quarter clock.
But Freeport quarterback Garret Schaffhauser orchestrated a pair of scoring drives in the final stanza to bring the Yellowjackets to within one score. He threw a 16-yard scoring pass to Brodey Woods with 8:18 left and added a 1-yard plunge at the 2:48 mark.
The Yellowjackets forced a Derry punt and started one final scoring attempt at the Freeport 12-yard line with 2:24 to play.
An incompletion on first down, coupled with an unsportsmanlike penalty after the play, moved the ball back to the 6. Schaffhauser kept Freeport alive with an 18-yard run for a first down. However, a new set of downs at the 24 yielded only 7 yards as the Trojans defense held. Two passes and two runs from Schaffhauser were not able to produce a first down.
“The kids were relentless and showed a lot of character tonight,” an emotional Freeport coach John Gaillot said after the game.
“This is just a great group of kids who fought and didn’t give up. My hat’s off to Derry. They are a very well-coached, very physical team. They will definitely be in the playoffs and probably go deep. We knew it was going to be tight, but we just came up a little bit short. We just have to find a way to get the kids to that next step and get that ‘W’ in a game like this.”
Derry coach Tim Sweeney said he was pleased to see his defense seal the victory.
“I’m happy with any stop,” he said.
Schaffhauser’s effort came with his arm and his legs. He ended the game 24 of 34 for 263 yards and two touchdowns. He added an 18-yard scoring strike to Isiah Bauman in the first quarter to tie the score 7-7 after Derry logged the game’s first touchdown on a Huss 1-yard run. In the fourth quarter, Schaffhauser was 9 of 14 passing for 129 yards and the touchdown to Woods.
Schaffhauser added 24 carries for 102 yards.
Bauman had seven catches for 85 yards. He finished the game on the sidelines with a knee injury. The extent of the injury was not known.
Freeport made its season debut Friday as it didn’t play a Week Zero contest. Derry bounced back from its Week Zero nonconference loss to Latrobe.
The Trojans went on defense first and forced Freeport into a three-and-out. Derry took over at its own 39, and Huss carried the ball six times for 63 yards and capped the drive with his 1-yard run. A Chance White point after put the Trojans ahead 7-0 at the 7:26 mark.
“We wanted to come out and play defense tonight,” Sweeney said. “We didn’t have a great offensive practice Wednesday, so with it being Freeport’s first game, I said let’s just kick it off to them. They might be a little jittery with it being their first game. I didn’t want them to get too comfortable on defense to start the game.”
There was a 10-minute delay on Derry’s opening scoring drive as one of the officials was caught up in the midst of a Huss 31-yard run down to the Freeport 4. The official was stretchered off the field and taken to the hospital for treatment.
Derry’s defense forced four Freeport turnovers — two fumbles and two interceptions.
Back-to-back turnovers in the latter stages of the second quarter, both in Trojans territory, snuffed out Freeport scoring chances as it tried to cut into a 21-7 deficit.
A third Yellowjackets drive in the final seconds was halted at the Derry 28 as sacks from Max Malis and Hunter Wack on consecutive plays ended the half.
Malis left the game in the second half with an apparent ankle injury.
Freeport turns its attention to its home opener, a matchup next Friday against 3A No. 2 North Catholic.
Derry steps away from conference play next week and takes on South Park before returning to Big East action Sept. 13 at home against Mt. Pleasant.
Michael Love is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Michael by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .
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