FREEPORT — In Freeport, football games are won and lost on Tuesday.
It’s the Bulldogs’ most difficult day of the week. Coach Shaun Arntz has designed it that way.
Following a slow Monday, the pads always come back on on Tuesday, and “all bets are off,” Arntz said. Conditioning is attacked. So is play calling and scrimmaging. It’s as close to a Friday night as is possible.
The Bulldogs don’t like it, but they understand why it’s important.
“I just keep telling ’em, ‘To feel great on Friday, you’ve got to feel a little bad on Tuesday,” Arntz said.
Thus far, his strategy has worked to perfection.
Freeport is 2-0. The Bulldogs bested Maclay 42-36 in overtime in Week 1, erasing a halftime deficit in the process.
This past week, the Bulldogs topped Holmes County, a team it hadn’t beaten since 2015, 19-7; Senior running back Brandon Siples rushed for 125 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, while Kobe Phillips and Jordan Dobie each forced a fourth-quarter fumble.
“They’re feeling good, man,” Arntz said of his team. “They’re feeling good. They’re seeing the payoff of their labors.”
Freeport will against be tested this week, the Bulldogs traveling to face Pike Liberal Arts at 7 p.m. Friday in Troy, Alabama.
The Patriots are just 1-1 this season, having scored 47 points and allowed 54. That said, Pike Lib is coming off a 10-2 season in 2018, one where it not only made the 3A playoffs in Alabama, but also beat Freeport 41-28 in Week 3.
“I felt like we were able to move the ball on them last year, but, man, offensively they just made some dang plays, and they have a lot of those playmakers coming back,” Arntz said.
Although stats are not available for the Patriots’ current season, Arntz singled out the play of sophomore quarterback Drew Nelson, comparing him to a “left-handed Doug Flutie.” Nelson passed for 465 yards and five touchdowns with five interceptions in limited work a year ago.
Meanwhile, Pike’s offense generated 2,872 yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground in 2018.
“I tell you, they’re really, really identical to Maclay, who we played in Week 1, as far as what their offensive attack is,” Arntz said. “They really like to spread it out and throw it, but they’re probably a little bit better on the rushing attack than what Maclay was.
“We look forward to that challenge.”