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Bears fall to Freedom

BETHLEHEM - Freedom came into the game with a stronger and more athletic team.

And the Patriots certainly flexed their muscles and flashed that speed in a 42-0 win over Pleasant Valley at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium.

An efficient Freedom offense didn’t even face a third-down until deep into the third quarter when the game was already out of reach.

“We had a physical advantage on them and we blocked well up front and it gave space for our play makers to do what they do,” said Freedom head coach Jason Roeder.

The primary play maker was quarterback Brian Taylor. The senior completed 8 of his 10 passes and could have had a perfect night if not for a couple dropped balls.

He threw for 128 yards and a pair of touchdowns and ran for 73 yards and a score.

“He was throwing darts tonight,” said Roeder. “We’ve been focusing on improvement and the offense is getting better every week. We have a lot of good football players so we’re spreading the ball around and letting guys make plays.”

The Patriots (6-2) controlled the line of scrimmage, rushing for 265 yards on 28 carries with Deonte Crawford leading the way with 123 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries. In the first half the Freedom offense ran only two plays that gained less than five yards and one was Crawford’s 1-yard TD run.

“They’re an incredible football team,” said Bears head coach Blaec Saeger. “They’ve been good for 10 years now. Coach Roeder is doing amazing things.

“They are enormous. They’re strong. They’re disciplined. They’re fast. They’re athletic. They’re everything you need in a football team, which is why they are down here competing for a title with all these monster schools. I give them all the credit in the world. They’re where every program like us wants to be.”

The Patriots went ahead with a pair of first-quarter scores, one on a 40-yard Crawford run and the next on Taylor’s 44-yard pass to Owen Johnson (4 catches, 78 yards, 2 TDs).

Johnson and Taylor connected for another touchdown, this time from nine yards out early in the second quarter.

Taylor ran in a 3-yard score later in the period and the back-breaker came with 51 seconds left in the half when Crawford plunged in from a yard out to put his team up by a mercy-rule score of 35-0.

Jalen Fletcher’s 22-yard third quarter touchdown run capped the scoring.

The Bears (4-3) still have District 11 Class 6A playoff hopes with two games remaining on their schedule, which includes Pocono Mountain West next week and Stroudsburg to finish the season.

“We came out of this thing healthy, which is huge,” said Saeger. “We’re excited to get this one behind us and [get back to] playing schools our size. Pocono West is a team that beat us the last couple years. I wish it was next Friday already.”

IT’S BEEN SUCH A LONG TIME ... This was the first time Pleasant Valley and Freedom met at Bethlehem Area School District Stadium since their 2002 playoff game, which also ended with a 42-0 score in favor of Freedom.

IT’S GOOD...Freedom kicker Zeyad Rayab made all six extra points on the night for the Patriots.