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Lynch leads Freeport past Shady Side Academy

| Saturday, Sept. 29, 2012, 12:14 a.m.
Valley News Dispatch
Freeport's Travis Hall (No. 27) breaks through the Shady Side Academy defense and scampers for a touchdown during first-half action Friday, Sept. 28, 2012, at James Swartz Memorial Field in Freeport. Bill Shirley | For the Valley News Dispatch

Freeport bounced back from last week's upset loss to Valley in a big way Friday night.

Travis Hall returned the opening kickoff 75 yards for a touchdown as Freeport defeated Shady Side Academy, 28-14, in an Allegheny Conference game at James Swartz Stadium.

Yellowjackets senior Brendan Lynch ran for 184 yards and a touchdown, passed for 121 yards and a touchdown and picked off two fourth-quarter passes to preserve the victory.

Freeport (4-1, 4-1) is a game behind first-place Burrell in the conference, while Shady Side (3-2, 3-2) is tied with Valley for third place.

The win also gave the Yellowjackets an 11-8 lead in the all-time series between the two schools.

“The Valley game is in the past, and I'm proud of all the kids, the way they responded and rebounded,” Freeport coach John Gaillot said.After the opening kickoff was booted out of bounds, Freeport was anxious to set up a return and took the rare kickoff penalty yardage instead of getting the ball at the 35.

Hall found a large gap to the left of the Shady Side Academy coverage team and brought the Yellowjackets fans to their feet early.

Shady Side responded with a 59-yard scoring drive, culminated with a 2-yard run by Dennis Briggs, who set up the score with a 32-yard pass from Matt Granato.

Freeport got the lead back on a 71-yard pass from Lynch to Mike Teorsky, who ran a slant play from the right side.

The Yellowjackets appeared ready to score again just before the half. Freeport drove to the Indians' 5 on a 14-yard pass to Dustin Koedel.

With time running out, the officials warned Freeport not to snap the ball until they were given the signal and the ball was ready for play. The Yellowjackets were too anxious and were assessed a 5-yard penalty, and the half expired.

Hall recovered a fumble on Shady Side's first play from scrimmage in the third quarter.

That set up a three-play, 55-yard drive with Lynch tiptoeing along the sideline 43 yards for the score.

“Travis is having an outstanding year for us on defense and with a limited time on offense,” Gaillot said.

Added Lynch: “We had to rely on everyone executing well tonight, and we were able to make the big plays. We know Shady Side's a tough opponent, and we'd be in for a dogfight.”

Tryel Hill caught a 27-yard pass from Granato to bring the Indians within 21-14. Shady Side then stopped Freeport on downs at its 10 to prevent another Yellowjackets score.

But the Indians couldn't take advantage as Lynch picked off a pass at the Indians' 31. That led to an 18-yard scoring run by Koedel to give Freeport a 28-14 advantage.

Shady Side's late drive was halted by Lynch's second interception deep in Freeport territory with 30 seconds to go to complete a strong Yellowjackets effort.

“That's why I love it here; we're a bunch of blue-collar kids who are just hard-working,” Gaillot said. “We came out and played backyard football tonight; I told them to have some fun.”

George Guido is a freelance witer.

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