A year ago, Freeport wouldn’t have closed out this 19-7 road win over Holmes County.
Brandon Siples would’ve been tired. The defense would’ve been gassed.
The Bulldogs would’ve gotten in their own way.
But this is a different Bulldogs crew, and Friday’s dominant fourth quarter symbolized that during this 2-0 start.
Brandon Siples rushed for 125 and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter as part of a 216-yard, three-score night and Kobe Phillips and Jordan Dobie forced fumbles as Holmes County was held to just a 1-of-5 clip on fourth-down conversions late.
“We just changed up a couple of things schematically and the guys made adjustments and dominated that fourth quarter,” Freeport coach Shaun Arntz said.
STAT OF THE NIGHT: 22
The Bulldogs only dressed 22, so that meant you had linemen playing both ways and specialty players being extended all over.
No worries for Freeport, which has shifted last year’s relaxed culture into a newfound love for the weight room and strength and conditioning.
OFFENSIVE MVP: Brandon Siples
Two games into the season, Siples has 399 rushing yards, 500-plus all-purpose yards and seven scores.
At this pace, that Freeport single-season touchdown record will be his.
“Brandon, last year Week 6 he would have been asking to come out of the game at halftime," Arntz said. "He’s woke up and bought into the conditioning. He’s matured and he has the mental toughness now.”
DEFENSIVE MVP: Jordan Dobie
It could’ve been anybody, Arntz said. Phillips forced a timely fumble and Dobie forced and recovered a fumble and had a fourth-down pass breakup.
Skyler Washington and David Ramshur both had sacks in the fourth quarter. Tabios Holmes made six tackles and broke up a pass in his first star.
"I was really proud of their effort and they all played together. Holmes County was one of those 4 yards and grind offenses, which was completely different than MaClay’s spread offense," Arntz said. "Our guys didn’t give up many long runs tonight."
Arntz on Freeport’s 2-0 start – “Oh, it’s great. The guys, they got this confidence going right now. They’re certainly not letting it go to their head – coming in Monday morning to their workouts, eyes on the TV for film and their toes on the line when it comes game time.”
Freeport travels to Pike Liberal Arts (Troy, Alabama) next Friday.