SALTILLO – Rashad Freeman figured, “Why not me?”
With Saltillo and Mooreville locked in a scoreless tie midway through the third quarter Friday night, the Tigers’ senior safety knew somebody needed to step up and make a big play.
That’s exactly what Freeman did.
Freeman scooped up a Mooreville fumble near the home sideline and dashed 32 yards for a score, giving the Tigers their first points of the season and all the momentum they would need on the way to a 17-0 victory.
“My teammates did a good job of stripping the ball and when I saw it on the ground, I started thinking ‘Touchdown'” Freeman said. “I knew I had to score as soon as I got that opening.”
Freeman’s defensive score fueled a second-half surge by the Tigers, as quarterback Drew Chisholm broke a 43-yard run moments later and tailback Desmon Hayes capped a scoring drive with 19-yard scamper.
Jon Michael Parker capped the scoring with a 30-yard field goal in the fourth.
“That defensive touchdown was a major, major play in this game, but (Freeman) makes those plays all the time,” Saltillo coach Greg May said. “Our defense won this game tonight.”
Strong on defense
Saltillo’s defense was terrific from the outset, holding Mooreville to 90 total yards, including just 18 after halftime.
“We knew it was going to be a dogfight and that’s what it was,” May said. “Mooreville is always tough and we had to really get after it tonight.”
For nearly three quarters, Mooreville’s defense was just as strong as Saltillo’s limiting the Tigers to just 82 first half yards. After Freeman’s score, the Saltillo offense started to click, finishing the night with 211 total yards.
“”I thought our defense was outstanding tonight,” Mooreville coach Kevin Austin said. “When they picked up that fumble and scored, I felt like the air kind of went out of our team, but we’ll learn from this and get better.”
Mooreville will return home next Friday to face Strayhorn; Saltillo will visit Caledonia.
Brandon Walker/NEMS Daily Journal