While the blow out win last week against Jefferson was a welcome way to begin the season, it wasn’t considered a true test of the Belvidere Bucs as a football team. Friday night’s game in Freeport was another story. The Pretzels were coming off an embarrassing loss to Boylan the week before and playing Belvidere in their home opener. However, the Bucs were up to the challenge and came away 26 – 14 victors in a stadium that hadn’t seen a home team loss in five years.
Freeport scored first with six and a half minutes left in the first quarter; Ryan Ramos rushed 1 yard up the middle for a touchdown. The point after was good and the Pretzels were up 7 – 0. Belvidere came back, putting together some rushing of their own. Quarterback Matt Barr kept the ball and dashed 24 yards into the end zone. Jason Swartz’ kick was good and the game was tied at the three minute mark.
The Bucs defense held the Pretzels and they were forced to punt. The first quarter ended with the Bucs on the move into Freeport territory. However, the drive ended without a score. Freeport took control and seemed to take the momentum as well. On third down and five, Quarterback Jared Krawczyk connected with Josh Bratley for a 23 yard gain. Carl Horde broke open and ran 47 yards in for the touchdown. The point after was good and the Pretzels were up 14 – 7. Tyler Pearse grabbed the kick off and scrambled into Pretzels territory, but a holding call negated the run and the Bucs were forced to punt it away three plays later. Freeport was unable to move the ball much and the Bucs got the ball back. With a minute left in the half, Matt Barr fumbled and the Pretzels recovered as time ran out.
The third quarter was a back and forth battle. Neither team was able to score. The fourth quarter was another story. Matt Barr scrambled 47 yards in for a touchdown. The point after was good and the game was tied at 14 with ten minutes left. The Bucs defense held firm and Freeport fumbled. Belvidere recovered and Matt Stringini pushed it into the end zone from four yards out. The kick after was no good, but the Bucs had a 20 – 14 lead. With three and a half minutes left, Scott Rice picked off a Krawczyk pass and got to midfield. The Bucs worked their way downfield, eating up time and yardage. Brandon Smaha fumbled the ball at the three yard line, but Tyler Pearse recovered in the end zone to give the Bucs a 26 – 14 advantage. Freeport Quarterback Jared Krawczyk ended the game with an interception. Grant Magnuson picked off the pass with 12 seconds on the clock and the Bucs beat the Pretzels for the first time since 1998.
Belvidere returns home Friday night to take on Rockford East. The E-rabs are coming off a non-conference loss to East Moline United Township, 41 – 7. The game begins at 7:15.