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Freeport's Lynch lifts Kittanning

| Friday, Aug. 31, 2012, 11:48 p.m.
Louis B. Ruediger
Freeport running back Damon Smith breaks the tackle of Kittanning's Sterling Henry during the first half at Kittanning High School on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Louis B. Ruediger
Kittanning quarterback Kevin Barnes is presured by Freeport's Alec Stivers during the first half at Kittanning High School on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Louis B. Ruediger
Kittanning's Zak Croyle, No. 20, is brought down by a Freeport defender during the first half at Kittanning High School on Friday, Aug. 31, 2012. Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times

Freeport senior quarterback Brendan Lynch spent a large portion of training camp, including both scrimmages, on the sideline with an upper-body injury.

Apparently no rust developed while he rested.

Efficient, and at times explosive, Lynch guided the Yellowjackets downfield for three first-half touchdowns on the way to a 32-21 win over Allegheny Conference foe Kittanning on Friday night at David “Red” Ullom Field. Freeport, ranked No. 6 in Class AA by the Tribune-Review News Service, led, 26-0, after three quarters and survived a fourth-quarter rally.

“Sitting out those two weeks, it was tough because (Freeport's offense) just wasn't smooth,” said Lynch, who returned to practice full-time this past week. “We didn't look right. I knew if I came in, I could smooth things out a little bit.”

Freeport (1-0, 1-0) opened its first possession with a three-back, power run game and marched downfield, only to turn the ball over on a fumbled snap at Kittanning's 10-yard line. But the productivity — 65 yards rushing in the drive — forced the host Wildcats (0-1, 0-1) to respect the run, and the next time Lynch took a snap, he dropped back and tossed a 38-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Travis Hall.

Tight end Tony DeVivo also found himself alone during his 18-yard touchdown catch from Lynch midway through the second quarter.

In Freeport's other scoring drive of the second quarter, the Yellowjackets converted on fourth-and-3 from Kittanning's 24 with an 18-yard scramble through the middle of the defense by Lynch, who finished with 71 yards passing and 104 rushing.

Damon Smith scored from 6 yards out one play after Lynch's scramble to cap a first half in which he rushed 12 times for 80 yards. He finished with 137 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries.

The debut of Kittanning's no-huddle spread offense included a hearty dose of mental mistakes and a few promising moments. The Wildcats ended the shutout early in the fourth quarter on Zac Croyle's 2-yard TD run. Then they allowed Freeport's Mike Teorsky to take the ensuing kickoff 70 yards for a score that put the Yellowjackets up, 32-7.

Quarterback Kevin Barnes finished with 105 yards and two touchdowns, both of which went to Mitch Pirhalla. He also accumulated 86 yards rushing in the game.

“We found a quarterback tonight — that was pretty evident,” Fabian said. “So that's one positive we can take from tonight.”

Bill West is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at wwest@tribweb.com or 724-543-1303 Ext. 1321.

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