Tradition • Character • Service

Tradition • Character • Service

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Freedom Gets Win #2

Former Chargers played big roles in The Ft. Wayne Freedom's 2nd win in as many tries. The Freedom move to 2-0 with the 51-28 UIFL win.

From the Bloomington Pantagraph:

April 2, 2006
Randy Rheinhart

"Fort Wayne scored the first 21 points of the second half en route to its second victory in as many games.

"We talked at halftime that we have to learn to put people away," Freedom coach Dan Pifer said. "We had a big tendency last year to get a 10-, 17- point lead and let everybody hang around. We came out with a lot more intensity and it showed."

Fort Wayne assumed a 44-20 lead on touchdown runs of 7 and 8 yards by former University of Illinois running back Rocky Harvey and a 3-yard scoring pass from Bill Skelton to Adrian Reese.

"They whipped us in every phase of the game the second half," said Schmitz. "This is the best team in the league, and I wanted to evaluate us against these people. I thought at halftime we were right there with them. By the end of the season, I would like to play these guys again in the playoffs and see where we stand."

Bloomington's final touchdown - and the third of Burk's three TD tosses - was a 10-yard pass to Craig Kastning with 1:25 remaining.

"We just weren't meshing as well as we should have been," said Kastning, the former Illinois Wesleyan player who caught five passes for 48 yards. "The second quarter, Dusty got us going. We started catching balls and making blocks. We came out the second half and it was like we were dull. You can't play two quarters. You have to put the whole game together."

Fort Wayne hit the Extreme with a steady dose of Harvey, who rushed 22 times for 130 yards and three touchdowns behind an offensive line of Jamarkus Gorman, Remele Penick and Noah Swartz that weighs a combined 980 pounds.

"They are as good as you're going to find in this league up front," Pifer said. "They are playing together for the second year. They talk. They can make adjustments. We wanted to establish the run and build off that. We did that early and that helped us set the tone."

Bloomington defensive lineman Eric Johnson said Harvey's ability to change direction was difficult to defend.

"It was really hard for us to adjust to what they did. He's a really, really good cutback runner," said Johnson. "With a three-man front, if somebody cuts back it's easy to get outnumbered that way. But no excuses in conjunction with the fact we didn't play very well."

Fort Wayne took a 7-0 lead on the opening drive as Harvey scored from a yard out. Bloomington then drove to the Freedom 4 before Scott Heighland intercepted Burk.

A 1-yard run from Skelton put Fort Wayne ahead 14-0 before a 22-yard field goal from Peter Christofilakos produced Bloomington's first points.

A 22-yard touchdown connection from Burk to Kastning over the middle cut the Extreme deficit to 17-10. But proving it's tough to be a Freedom fighter, Fort Wayne struck on the next play with a 39-yard TD bomb from Skelton to Reese.

Bloomington pulled within three on a 24-yard pass from Burk to Dwayne Smith at the 15-second mark of the opening half.

Burk completed 14 of 34 passes for 141 yards, and topped the Extreme with 42 yards rushing.

"We didn't capitalize on our opportunities and they capitalized on theirs," said Burk. "There were a few bad passes here and there, a few missed open receivers and a few dropped balls. Once we get our execution down and get our timing the way we want it, those are things we can easily correct."

Pifer was impressed with Bloomington's expansion team.

"They're good, especially their offense. That quarterback is real good," said the Freedom coach. "They are going to win some games for sure. They've got some talent on both sides of the ball. They could be around when the playoffs come around."

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